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Intercultural Learning

Critical preparation for international student travel
Peter Jones, Debra Miles and Narayan Gopalkrishnan
Intercultural Learning

International student exchanges are an increasingly popular aspect of the internationalisation of higher education around the globe. Whether as short-term mobility projects or semester long ‘study abroad’ opportunities, the benefits of such international study experiences have been well documented.

Higher education institutions, departments and disciplines, or individual academics are often tasked with preparing students for such international experiences. Such preparation often focuses on the practical and logistical aspects of student travel, overlooking a crucial dimension of student learning.

Intercultural learning: Critical preparation for international student travel aims to take students beyond practical preparation, to equip them with a critical lens through which to view and understand their international experiences. The book leads students toward a deeper understanding of culture and cultural difference through an exploration of challenging concepts such as imperialism, racism, privilege and intercultural practice.

As an adjunct to traditional approaches, the book adds a significant and valuable dimension to the process of preparing students for international study, increasing the potential for meaningful and transformative learning experiences.



The interactive elements of Intercultural Learning work best on desktop computers with PDF reader software (such as the Adobe PDF products, which include downloadable free software). The interactive elements of the Anatomy Quizbook may not work on some tablets and mobile devices.

About the Authors: 

Dr Peter Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work & Human Services at James Cook University with over 20 years experience in social work education, research and practice. Peter is a multi-award winning educator with a particular interest in the application of transformative learning theory in social work education. He is currently a Fellow of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA). Peter’s research and practice interests include social work education, environmental social work, sustainable community development, international social work, and international student exchange. He has published scholarly work in all of these areas. Over the past six years Peter has also facilitated a number of international student exchanges to both Thailand and India.

Dr Debra Miles is an Associate Professor in Social Work & Human Services at James Cook University. She has worked in the tertiary education sector in Australia since 1995 teaching across a wide array of undergraduate and postgraduate subjects in professional social work and women’s studies courses at JCU and Charles Darwin University. Her teaching foci include human rights and social work practice. Deb’s research has focused on feminist social work practice particularly in child protection, women’s services, and in work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Her current research projects include international student exchange; internationalisation of social work education; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their experience in field education.

Dr Narayan Gopalkrishnan holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Social Work & Human Services at James Cook University. Narayan has a thirty-year career in Australia and overseas, working in universities, NGOs and the private sector.  This has included major development projects and large corporate entities in India and work in the not-for-profit sector and academia in Australia. Narayan brings extensive experience in international development in Asia and has managed significant research projects in rural development. Narayan has expertise in Participatory Methodologies and has used these in studies at village and district levels in Asia. Narayan has also coordinated and taught in courses in community development, mental health, counselling, health, globalisation, social disadvantage, human rights and social justice, communication and thought, and social policy.