Internationalisation is something higher education institutions have been engaging in since the 1970s. Initially it took the form of development schemes, but as Hans de Wit has recently pointed out, in the 1980s “the direction shifted from aid to trade”, with universities in the UK and Australia in particular beginning to charge full-cost fees to foreign students. Since the 1990s internationalisation has undergone yet another revolution, with universities increasingly offering education offshore.

The merits of this process have been much debated, but last week I was at the Humboldt Centre for British Studies in Berlin to attend a workshop on the changing role of the university, and among the papers presented was one by Johanna Waters (Birmingham) and Maggi Leung (Utrecht) that cast new light on the issue. In a qualitative study, they interviewed both the providers of British degrees in Hong Kong and also the students who undertake them. Their findings suggest that British universities would be wise to pay more attention to the geographically specific and long-term consequences of their educational offerings…. read the rest of this post at