A mismatch of expectations? An exploration of international students' perceptions of employability skills and work-related learning

This presentation was delivered at the joint HEA/UKCISA Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in Higher Education Conference that took place at the University of Warwick on 16th and 17th June 2011.

This presentation details the findings of a study of why international students’ are least satisfied with the employability related aspects of the curriculum at Glasgow Caledonian University. The study shows that the students based their judgment of the quality of work-related learning on their cultural values. The concept of independent learning was particularly confusing for them. They perceived it as an abdication of the teacher’s responsibility rather than a strategy to develop student’s employability skills. Other findings include dissatisfaction with low number of contact hours and the university’s role in providing access to employer networks and placement opportunities. The paper recommends generic cultural awareness courses for students and staff which focus on the role of culture specific values in learning and teaching rather than the customs in individual countries.