Adrian Holliday on PhD students, interculturality, reflexivity, community and internationalisation


Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 


Interviews with a small group of doctoral students at a British university indicate that the students feel that the programme provides an environment within which they develop interculturality through reflexive engagement with the PhD community and in some cases with the participants in their research. Significant here is that they are interpretivist, constructivist qualitative researchers within a larger university community of qualitative researchers where there is a shared reflexivity that is at the core of interculturality. They also bring with them existing cultural complexity with which to engage, build on, make reflexive sense of and resolve in this experience. This complexity which they all share make it difficult to consider them differently as ‘international’ or ‘home’ students, which are revealed as inappropriately divisive labels within an intercultural community. Where there are apparent issues with English as a second or other language among some of the students, it is realised that this represents a broader struggle, shared with all students, regarding self-expression in writing. These findings demand cultural belief in whatever backgrounds the students come from. This belief impacts on how we understand internationalisation and the nature of academic knowledge and process.