The FRIENDS project title stands for Furthering International Relations Capacities and Intercultural Engagement to Nurture Campus Diversity and to Support Internationalisation and Home. The project is built around the concept of Internationalisation and Home (IaH) that reframes the traditional perceptions of higher education internationalisation in the five Partner Countries involved, namely Bhutan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The notion of IaH is based on the assumption that for various reasons the largest part of the universities’ student body will remain non-mobile and therefore deprived from access to global knowledge and skills.
The IaH term emerged in the early 2000s and has gained momentum in Europe ever since it was integrated in the European Higher Education in the World 2013 European policy statement. Currently, more and more European higher education institutions are embracing IaH as an institutional policy for internationalisation of curriculum, teaching and learning, extra-curricular activities as well as liaison with local cultural and ethnic groups.
For the purposes of consistency throughout the project, the IaH term is used and interpreted as per Beelen’s and Jones’ definition from 2015, which perceives IaH as “the purposeful integration of international and intercultural dimensions into the formal and information curriculum for all the students within domestic learning environments” (Beelen & Jones, 2015, p. 12).
By switching the focus from outbound mobility to systematic institutional efforts for improving non-mobile students’ global skills in domestic environments, IaH creates a paradigm shift and introduces an egalitarian community spirit where internationalisation is not a privilege of the few any more but an asset all students can benefit from.