Integrating international students in local (student) communities. A theory-to-practice perspective

Guest editor: Christof Van Mol (Tilburg University, the Netherlands)

Over the past years, great progress has been made in research on international student mobility and migration in higher education (hereafter ISM). Nevertheless, in-depth insights into the mechanisms that foster or impede the local integration of international students remain relatively limited today. Furthermore, whereas our theoretical and empirical understanding of ISM expanded significantly, the translation of research findings into practical implications which stakeholders can use in their daily work with students are also still limited. Although ‘good practices’ regarding the integration of international students and/or mixing of international and national students are sometimes described, we need more in-depth analyses on what kind of practices, interventions and/or programmes work and why they work, i.e. the mechanisms/factors explaining why they are successful. Furthermore, there is little analysis of ‘bad practices’ in the literature and why these practices, interventions and/or programmes did not work. However, such insights are also very relevant to scholars and practitioners as they can, for example, shine light on the factors that impede integration or indicate routes which practitioners should not follow when creating integration programmes or interventions. 

Given this background, we invite contributions which investigate the integration of international higher education students in local (student) communities. Particular attention should be paid to what kind of practices, interventions and/or programmes work or not, and why this is the case (i.e. the mechanisms behind it). The analyses might be situated at different levels (e.g. the classroom, housing programmes, university policies) or in different contexts, but all papers should pay particular attention to the practical implications of their findings for practitioners. Furthermore, contributions that adopt a comparative perspective (between programmes/interventions, student groups, higher education institutions, and/or countries) are also particularly welcomed. Given the theory-to-practice focus of this special issue and the journal, full papers are expected not to be longer than 3,500 words (references, figures, etc. included).

About the Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education

The Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education is a relatively new journal. It is the official journal of the Comparative and International Education Society’s (CIES) Higher Education Special Interest Group (HESIG). HESIG supports development, analysis, and dissemination of theory-, policy-, and practice-related issues that influence higher education. Accordingly, the journal publishes work from the complementary fields of comparative, international, and development education addressing these issues.


We welcome extended abstracts of no more than 750 words including your name, title, email, and institutional affiliation by 30 March 2018 at the latest. The extended abstract should include some background information, a clear description of the kind of data and analysis that will be used, and – if already available – the main (preliminary) findings. All files must be submitted in word format to Christof Van Mol (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). All authors will be informed on whether their abstract is accepted before 27 April 2018. Full papers (with a maximum of 3,500 words) are expected mid-August 2018, in order to submit them for anonymous peer review before September 2018. The special issue will be published in the Winter 2019 issue of the Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education.