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Our Global Footprint: International students at KTH

The emphasis that KTH places on internationalisation is apparent in many ways. As one of the university’s four pillars (along with sustainability, equality, and digitalisation), internationalisation is part of the university’s vision, development plan, and operations. 

But what does “internationalisation” really mean? 

By definition, it’s “the increasing importance of international trade, relations, treaties, alliances, etc.”. Sounds a bit diplomatic and political, right? But international partnerships are crucial for universities too — 

It’s what enables KTH to offer double degree programs or study abroad opportunities with other prominent technical universities. It’s how KTH is part of communities like EIT, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which brings together universities, research, and companies to foster innovation in Europe. And it’s what allows KTH to recruit talent from all over the world. 

As an international student, I’ve (of course) met many other international students. It got me wondering, what is our collective global footprint? According to official records on international students admitted to KTH master’s programmes in 2021, the answer is pretty incredible: 

The global footprint of international students at KTH (2021). Darker color = higher value.

Plus, this representation only accounts for students in two-year KTH master’s programmes. In other words, there are many, many other international master’s students that get allocated to another “home” university, even though they spend one year of a dual or joint programme or one semester of exchange studies here at KTH.

So, “internationalisation” is about a lot of things: strategic partnerships, global funding, international recruitment of students and researchers. These things are critical in shaping a high-quality learning environment and various opportunities for students.

But on the most fundamental level, an international university teaches you passively about other people’s perspectives and cultures. An accumulation of ordinary interactions and context breeds understanding and acceptance. If you ask me, that’s an equally important investment in our global future.

// Claire