Internationalization & Intercultural Competency

Internationalization in higher education can be explained as a process where a higher education institutional through academicsservicesresearch, and the environment puts in efforts and resources to prepare their students for an interconnected, global world to live and to work effectively and ethically.

Living in a globally connected world, ALL students are international students, and they deserve an education focused on their needs and aspirations as well - an education that connects them with the communities and the world outside and beyond their classrooms.

The following terms and concepts will help you understand and explore Internationalization of Curriculum (IoC) and Intercultural teaching Competency (ITC) for your work at Dalhousie University.

Internationalization and Online Learning

Since the beginning of 2020 when remote teaching during the COVID pandemic came into effect, international students attended classes virtually, and in most cases from their home countries. This interconnectivity has made the process of internationalization even more important for our classrooms, curriculum, syllabi and policies around academics, service, and research. 

“Virtual internationalization at the national, sector, and institutional levels is defined as the process of introducing an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the delivery, purpose or functions of higher education with the help of information and communications technology (ICT).” (Adapted by Bruhn, 2017 from Knight, 2003)

Internationalization and Student Engagement

  • Inclusion of local, national (here and abroad), and global dimensions of learning and engagement
  • Recognition of students’ previous learning experiences and styles. For example, have open discussions to create a 3rd cultural space. "This perspective follows the assumption that learners and instructors bring their experiences, their types of socialization, and their culturally formed learning and teaching styles into the online classroom, parts of which the others may share, and parts of which they do not." (Bruhn, 2017)

Internationalization of Curriculum (IoC)

“Internationalisation of the curriculum is concerned with preparing graduates to live and work effectively and ethically in an increasingly interconnected world.” (

Global Learning Outcomes

ALL students are international students, and they deserve an education focused on their needs and aspirations as well as an education that connects them with the communities and world outside their classrooms. Intended course and lesson learning outcomes need to be made global as well. Global learning outcomes are identified to help students build understanding, skills, knowledge, beyond “disciplinary expertise or technical knowledge”.

The 2016 Accord put forward by Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) on internationalization of education in Canada advises universities to respond to the need for internationalization through:

  1. Services that are socially accountable.
  2. Reconsideration of curriculum that addresses the “complexity, uncertainty, diversity, and inequality in Canada and internationally” (p.4).
  3. Addressing the exclusion and “the vulnerability of marginalised communities” from higher education.


Bruhn, E. (2017). Towards a framework for virtual internationalization. In European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) Conference Proceedings (No. 2, pp. 1-9). European Distance and E-Learning Network.

Magnusson, K. (2016). Accord on the Internationalization of Education. Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE)

If you are interested in undertaking any of the initiatives above, please contact Shazia Nawaz Awan, Educational Developer (Internationalization & Intercultural Competency) at We look forward to supporting your work.