International Students’ Reflections on Employability Development Opportunities During a One-Year Masters-level Program in the UK




internationalization, employability, international students, work-integrated learning, employment development opportunities


This article explores reflection and reflective thinking, drawing upon qualitative research on international students’ perceptions of developing their employability while studying in the UK. It addresses a gap in the literature by making a connection between internationalization and employability, concepts that are mainly framed as separate discursive realms. The literature on internationalization is focused around international student recruitment and the benefits to the host institution; the employability discourse is oriented towards national policies on the development of human capital through home students in the domestic market. The reflective thinking demonstrated by the international students illustrates the challenges they faced in seeking opportunities to enhance their employability within and outside the university; and to (re)assess learning opportunities that are integrated with work experience. The findings suggest that there is scope for embedding employment development opportunities (EDOs) at a systemic level in order to enhance the experience of international students.

Author Biographies

Omolabake Fakunle

Omolabake Fakunle, PhD, is a Teaching Fellow and Coordinator of the MSc Education General Pathway at the University of Edinburgh. She is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). She is Advisory Board Member, Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education, and Co-convenor, Scottish Educational Research Association ECR Network. Her award-winning research explores the intersections of internationalisation, student experience, employability and education policy. Omolabake has led and worked in multi-disciplinary teams on national and multi-national research projects on student experience in higher education. She shares her research widely in peer-reviewed journals, conferences, webinars, seminars and invited blog posts. Email:

Anne Pirrie, University of the West of Scotland

Anne Pirrie, PhD, is a Reader in Education at the University of the West of Scotland. Her recent work has been in the area of critical universities studies, culminating in the publication of a monograph entitled Virtue and the Quiet Art of Scholarship: Reclaiming the University (Routledge, 2019). She has also published on fostering reflective practice in HE; and critiques of the student satisfaction agenda that has gained traction in the UK higher education arena in recent years. This has entailed exploring the interrelationship between two discrete discursive fields. Email:


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How to Cite

Fakunle, O., & Pirrie, A. (2020). International Students’ Reflections on Employability Development Opportunities During a One-Year Masters-level Program in the UK. Journal of International Students, 10(S2), 86–100.