The year 2020 will go down in history as the year that got cancelled due to a global pandemic that disrupted global and local systems in an unprecedented and rapid manner. In a relatively short time, the COVID-19 coronavirus became a pandemic with devastating effects on societies, governments and economies world-wide as it challenges the normality of everyday life. Starting out in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the virus’ lack of discrimination about who and where it infects has had an exceptional impact on international education as destination countries and service providers were some of the early casualties of this evolving health crisis. The result has been almost daily decisions being made about course delivery options with online delivery being the best possible teaching and learning route in the wake of travel bans, self-quarantine and social distancing in order to limit the spread of the virus on destination country populations. International students have been subject to job losses, been unable to pay their rent or buy food for themselves. Meanwhile international students, especially those from China and of East Asian descent have been reporting heightened racism and xenophobia directed their way.
While COVID-19 has become the quickest acting disruptor the world has ever seen, what are the effects of both the pandemic and the decisions made by governments and education stakeholders on international education? How can international education move forward and what can it do to future proof itself in the event of another global disruptor? How have international students been impacted by institutional, government and community responses to the pandemic? How have international students dealt with these responses? What role has social media played in the way international education and international students are viewed in destination and sender countries? What are the directions and measures international education stakeholders have been taking during the pandemic? What are the directions and measures international education stakeholders should take in order to support international students after the pandemic ends? What lessons are to be learned from the disrupting impact of the pandemic? Is there any fallout from directions and decisions made in response to the pandemic?
While the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving crisis, it is one that reveals how international education and international students have become ‘disrupted’ in many ways. This conference aims to not only critically examine the impact of a global disruptor on policies, procedures, operations and people around international education but also to open discussion on the direction of future policy and practice in this space. We thus seek papers addressing but not limited to the following issues:
- The impact of institutional, government and community responses on international students
- The challenges, strategies and resilience of international students in the face of a global health crisis and institutional, government and community responses
- The impact of a pandemic on the future of internationalization
- Supporting international students during and post-pandemic
- The impact of institutional, government and community responses on stakeholder staff and domestic students
- The impact of a pandemic on international student employment and employability
- Communication in a time of crisis
- Racism and xenophobia perceived
- Safety and security
- Welfare and Wellbeing
- The impact of the pandemic on study and non-study aspects of the international student experience
- The future directions and measures of international education to support international students