CGHE Seminar 12

Canada’s incomplete conception of international student mobility: are we missing the boat?

  • Diane Barbaric, University of Toronto

Three per cent of Canadian postsecondary students study abroad, and Canadians account for one per cent of all internationally mobile students. This is not surprising given that Canada’s national and provincial efforts have been directed at international student recruitment, with incoming students seen as a lucrative financial investment contributing $8 billion annually to the Canadian economy. While this figure shows the financial value of incoming students, there has been little attempt to systematically assess the value of Canada’s outbound student activities.

The problem this study seeks to address is one of rhetorical imbalance. While the predominant political, policy, and advocacy discourses concerning international student mobility in Canada have focused on the monetisation of incoming international students, this study explores the value ascribed to outward student mobility. From a social constructivist perspective, and using semi-structured interviews and social discourse analysis, this study analyses outbound student mobility policies and discourses at the systems level in order to understand their philosophical underpinnings and their place in dominant international relations theories.

Set within the context of comparative international higher education, this study also explores how European countries frame their discourse on international student mobility to include the outward movement of students while Canada seemingly remains firmly inward-looking.

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Diane Barbaric

Diane Barbaric

Diane Barbaric is a PhD Candidate in Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto where she is also completing the collaborative program in Comparative, International and Development Education (CIDE). Her research focuses on outbound student mobility policies at the systems level in Canada and Europe. She is especially interested in the intersection between social philosophy and political and policy rhetoric. She holds a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship­ – Doctoral Scholarship, and is a past recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

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