Myths and truths about international education

Lara Crivelaro, educator and CEO of Efígie, explains how the internationalization process works and its advantages

A recent survey, published in 2023, by the Brazilian Association of Foreign Exchange Agencies (Belta), points to an 18% increase in the number of young people who went to study abroad in 2022, compared to 2019. The figures They highlight the growth in search of an international education, which also strengthens the students’ curriculum, expanding their universe of possibilities within the labor market and a global context of opportunities.

From this scenario, the educational market has noticed the need to offer guidance services for international experiences within schools, something that is still poorly specialized in Brazil. With this, a consistent process of internationalization is born, one of the main tools that has been used to satisfy this demand.

To explain this trend, Lara Crivelaro, CEO and founder of Efígie – edtech specialized in international education, defines what internationalization is and tells how educational institutions can prepare to offer this support to students and families. “Internationalization is the integrated and intentional process of incorporating an international and intercultural dimension in education with the aim of enriching teaching and learning, preparing students to act competently and consciously on the world stage,” says Ella Lara. .

The general director highlights that the concept of internationalization often ends up being confused with other international educational practices, such as bilingualism, for example. “Myths like this may lead some to believe that the process is only intended to prepare students to study abroad, when the real goal is to bring global perspectives to the local curriculum, allowing all students to benefit from an broader understanding of the world.

The expert affirms that this entire process begins in basic education, where students are trained and prepared not only for the global labor market, but also to be responsible global citizens committed to international and intercultural issues. These actions generate a series of positive transformations in the lives of young people, who begin to develop a different worldview; For educational institutions, being able to meet this demand expands the possibilities of action, in addition to providing an important differentiator.

“Internationalization in basic education is an investment in the future skills of students. By being exposed to different languages, cultures and systems of thought, they develop greater cognitive flexibility, intercultural communication skills and a deeper understanding of global contexts. This prepares them not only for a globalized economy, where the ability to navigate diverse environments is an advantage, but also helps develop a mindset that values ​​diversity and cooperation, stimulating creativity and innovation,” says Lara.

For schools, the process offers advantages related to increasing the quality of teaching and expanding the school curriculum. “Internationalization can increase the prestige and reputation of institutions, making them more attractive to students, teachers and researchers around the world. This can lead to a more diverse student body, enriching the learning environment for all.”

However, to implement internationalization in schools, it is important to understand how this process should occur, considering several fronts of action linked to strategic planning that contemplates the integration of a global dimension in the school curriculum. To assist in this mission, the CEO explains that there are innovative programs, in which students gain internationally recognized qualifications, as well as practical experience in an international educational environment.

“Programs like Washington Academy’s Dual Degree allow students to pursue a curriculum that meets the educational standards of another country, such as the United States, while still following the national curriculum. This provides a holistic education that prepares students for higher education and careers anywhere in the world,” highlights the expert.

Furthermore, it is clear that the school can also seek partnerships with foreign institutions, creating, for example, exchange programs and encouraging international collaboration projects. The use of digital communication technologies makes it easier to carry out joint projects with schools from different countries, without the need for physical travel.

To accompany the development of students during this process, the founder of Efígie Educacional highlights that it is important for schools to establish a practice evaluation system. “This helps monitor the impact of internationalization initiatives, adjusting them as necessary to best meet the needs of students and the objectives of the institution.”

As an expert on the subject, Lara concludes that by implementing internationalization tools and methods, the school not only enriches students’ learning, but also positions itself as a progressive institution, contributing to the formation of conscious global citizens prepared to face the challenges of the 21st century. century.

“With this, it is clear that internationalization is a comprehensive process that aims to prepare students for an interdependent world, enriching education and promoting deeper understanding and respect between different peoples and cultures,” he concludes.