International Students and Education

This page lists selected resources that explore the intersection of language, race, and nationality, with a focus on how this intersection impacts the experiences of international students. A number of the resources also have relevance for the experience of racialized minorities in educational and other institutions.

Why a Theme on International Students and Education?

Higher education is one of the “commodities” in our contemporary world that transcends national borders. Many students at the university level choose to pursue their undergraduate or (post)graduate degrees in an overseas institution whose language of instruction and campus life is not their first. While the accomplishments of these international students are considerable – they are, after all,  functioning at a high-level in a second (third, fourth…) language and in many cases a different writing system – the special circumstances and potential of these students often seem to pass under the administrative and instructional radar of their institutions. Ironically, these same international students constitute a critical source of income for their host universities, sometimes making it possible for colleges and universities to support domestic students who would otherwise be unable to afford increasingly high tuition fees.

The situation of international students is particularly difficult in Anglophone institutions of higher education, given the often unquestioned monolingual ideology that operates more generally in countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Language, Culture and Justice Hub recently explored how international students fare in predominantly Anglophone institutions through its project Multilingual Life on a Monolingual Campus: the linguistic experiences of international students in English language-medium universities. Brandeis University, the Hub’s former home, partnered with Macquarie University in Australia and the University of Birmingham in the UK to investigate this important topic on three continents.


Click on the type of resource below to explore scholarly publications, reports, blogposts, commentaries and more.

To learn about conceptual and methodological approaches to research about international students, visit a website dedicated to this area of inquiry, led primarily by researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK:

To Read
To Watch/Listen
  • Baugh, John
    “The significance of linguistic profiling” TEDxEmory. February 2019 
    This 18-minute TED talk by an eminent sociolinguist explores the phenomenon whereby a certain pattern of pronunciation (“accent”) triggers negative responses or evaluations.
  • Bodis, Agnes“International students at Australian universities: the simplification of English language proficiency and the invisibility of multilingualism” Language, Culture and Multilingualism in a Globalised World. Workshop at the University of Birmingham. July 2021. This 16-minute Zoom recording is from the July 2021 workshop organized by the MLMC University of Birmingham research partner Karen McAuliffe. She emphasizes that Australian institutions are characterized by a “monolingual mindset,” one of the results being that multilingualism tends to be seen as a deficit instead of an asset.
  • City of Melbourne. 2018.  “Act of Translation: the Documentary.” This YouTube video shows the behind-the-scenes lives of international students in Melbourne, Australia. The documentary was a collaboration between the City of Melbourne, Study Melbourne, RMIT University, the Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS), the Immigration Museum and independent artistic director, Catherine Simmonds.
  • Jones, Elspeth. “International Educator Conversations.” This YouTube channel provides a series of filmed conversations between Jones and various guests on topics relevant to international education.