Brown, L. (2009). A Failure of Communication on the Cross-Cultural Campus. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(4), 439–454


With mounting pressures to “improve their product and develop internationalization strategies” to attract students and increase revenue, British HE institutions have increasingly marketed to international students with the promise to develop positive cross-cultural experiences, opportunities for personal growth, and improve career prospects for students both locally and globally. As Brown points out, however, the empirical evidence has shown not only a lack of integration between student groups but divisions between students and local communities. Taking findings from a year-long ethnographic study of 150 international postgraduate students enrolled in a South England university, the author finds that language barriers, a perceived inapproachability of local residents, and feelings of vulnerability in the face of racial harrassment and abuse, leaves students with distinguishing features that marked their ‘otherness’ particularly vulnerable. This was especially apparent in comparison to their white-passing counterparts.