International study abroad programmes: Exploring global south student perspectives, reciprocity and sustainability

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This paper explores student experience, sustainability and the nature of reciprocity in the context of international student mobility programs. There is a considerable body of literature on various aspects of these programs such as educational outcomes, curriculum development, standards for practice and ethical issues. Much of the literature tends to focus on the experiences of the students and staff from the Global North and not on the experiences of those from the Global South. Some authors have highlighted the importance of maximizing the mutual benefits of international programs for all participants and to encourage some level of reciprocity as part of program-planning and delivery. To explore an example of one attempt to increase reciprocity, this small-scale qualitative study focused on the experiences of two international students from India on a short-term program to an Australian regional university. Using semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis to explore their experiences, we reflect on what educators can learn from the lived experience of these students and how we can further increase the level of reciprocity of these programs, thereby enhancing mutual benefit and ethical standards of international engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-504
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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