Rankings measuring how international universities are have limited significance, according to research from the University of Warwick.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from Warwick Applied Linguistics, found that the way internationalisation is currently measured at universities only takes into account the number of international students at universities and not the level to which they have networked and integrated with their fellow students from the UK.
The research claims that the result is that there is more of an emphasis on the structure of internationalisation within the UK and that there is much less of a focus on the social elements. The study discovered that the higher the percentage of international students at a university, the less satisfied students of all nationalities were with their university experiences.
Professor Helen Spencer-Oatey, one of the researchers responsible for the study, explained:
The current measurements only take into consideration the composition of people at each university, using a simple distinction between home and international students, but there are several dangers in gauging internationalisation this way.
We’ve found it’s actually the quality of interaction between people of different backgrounds both on campus and in the classroom that is a crucial factor for integration
Professor Oatey added that students need to have engaged with people from different cultures and developed the skills needed for working in a global environment by the time they have left university. She said that as a result of this for an institution to be deemed ‘truly internationalised’ it would have to measure friendship-making and the development of communication skills.
The University of Southampton was ranked as the world’s 50th most international university in a recent survey by The Times.