Marginalization and Underrepresentation in Virtual Exchange: Reasons and Remedies


  • Nael Alami Modern University for Business and Science
  • Josmario Albuquerque The Open University UK
  • Loye Ashton ImmersU
  • James Elwood Meiji University
  • Kwesi Ewoodzie Culture Beyond Borders
  • Mirjam Hauck The Open University UK
  • Joanne Karam Modern University for Business and Science
  • Liudmila Klimanova University of Arizona at Tucson
  • Ramona Nasr Modern University for Business and Science
  • Müge Satar



Critical Virtual Exchange, Global Survey, Intercultural Education, Marginalization, Underrepresentation


The recent expansion of virtual exchange (VE) in lieu of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing advance of technology has resulted in considerably larger numbers of VE participants for those in certain areas and contexts, yet not all would-be participants have been so fortunate. In some regions and in various contexts, challenges in VE implementation have resulted in disadvantaged populations in terms of underrepresentation and marginalization in global VE networks. To illuminate such challenges, a mixed-method approach was utilized in the current study, beginning with a global survey to elucidate reasons for underrepresentation in terms of political, governmental, institutional, administrative, technological, pedagogical, cultural and personal challenges. Thereafter, semi-structured interviews with instructors, administrators, and educational decision makers were conducted to gain further insights. Although VE is now well established as an impactful mode of studying abroad, various region-specific challenges remain. We conclude with recommendations for underrepresented regions and populations.

Author Biographies

Nael Alami, Modern University for Business and Science

NAEL H ALAMI, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Provost at Modern University for Business and Science. His major research interests lie in the area of learning sciences, educational technology, global health and neuroscience. Email:

Josmario Albuquerque, The Open University UK

JOSMARIO ALBUQUERQUE, is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute for Educational Technology at the Open University UK. Email:

Loye Ashton, ImmersU

LOYE SEKIHATA ASHTON, PhD, is VP of Partnerships and Chief Academic Officer at Class2Class, where he is working to help develop ImmerseU into one of the leading global Virtual Exchange and Virtual Mobility platforms. Email:

James Elwood, Meiji University

JAMES A. ELWOOD, EdD, is a professor in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences at Meiji University in Japan. His major research interests lie in educational psychometrics, the intersection of technology and foreign language acquisition, and the nature of international posture. Email:

Kwesi Ewoodzie, Culture Beyond Borders

KWESI EWOODZIE, PhD, is the founder of Culture Beyond Borders (CBB), and an organizational culture consultant who facilitates virtual and in-person cross-cultural exchanges. Dr. Ewoodzie’s doctorate concentration was in the sociology of organization and culture. He promotes experiential learning with impactful and inclusive travel to the African continent. Email:

Mirjam Hauck, The Open University UK

MIRJAM HAUCK, PhD, is Associate Head for Internationalization, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the Open University/UK. Her work covers aspects such as learner and teacher autonomy, intercultural communicative competence, and critical digital literacy. Email:

Joanne Karam, Modern University for Business and Science

JOANNE KARAM, PhD, is Chairperson of the Nutrition Department at Modern University for Business and Science. Her research interests include nutrition and dietetics and global health. Email:

Liudmila Klimanova, University of Arizona at Tucson

LIUDMILA KLIMANOVA, PhD, is Assistant Professor of CALL and Digital Studies, at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on the intersection of critical pedagogies, critical virtual exchange, intercultural virtual learning. She is Co-Founder and Director of Connecting the Borderlands, an initiative that brings together institutions in border towns around the world for a productive discussion of social, political, and cultural issues associated with borderland locations and beyond. Email:

Ramona Nasr, Modern University for Business and Science

RAMONA NASR, PhD, is Acting Chairperson of the Public Health Department at the Modern University for Business and Science. Her major research interests include global health, non-communicable diseases, and academic literacies. Email:

Müge Satar

MÜGE SATAR, PhD, is a Reader in Applied Linguistics at Newcastle University, UK. She is interested in communicative and pedagogical aspects of multimodal interaction for online language learning and teaching. She is the co-editor of the Journal of Virtual Exchange and principal investigator of the EU-funded ENACT project. Email:


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How to Cite

Alami, N., Albuquerque, J., Ashton, L., Elwood, J., Ewoodzie, K. ., Hauck, M., Karam, J., Klimanova, L., Nasr, R., & Satar, M. (2022). Marginalization and Underrepresentation in Virtual Exchange: Reasons and Remedies. Journal of International Students, 12(S3), 57–76.