Identity Construction and Learning Processes at Copenhagen Business School: A Study of International Full-time Students

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In the light of globalization, and especially of the Bologna process in Europe, many graduate students take the decision of cursing their graduate studies abroad. This affects the host country students as well as educators and curriculum developers. Knowledge/learning and students become more culturally diverse, so the learning processes denationalize themselves. This qualitative based study presents the relation between identity and learning in international graduate full-time students at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), and the consequences that these have in their learning approaches and processes. The research has as a focus the interaction between prior knowledge of the international students, concentrating on their way of learning and their perception and approaches about learning at CBS.

Our findings lead us to the assumptions that in relation to identity, international students embrace a group identity, which is explicitly differentiated from the exchange and Danish students. They define different challenges they encounter in Denmark and CBS, and all of them define their experience as international, being a positive concept. Students also mention the lost of continuity in changing country of residence and study. In relation to learning, all students see a difference in the way they learn at CBS from their home countries, which encourage them to be more critical and stand by themselves. Furthermore, the students recognize that they take the decision to engage more or less deep in their lectures, depending on their present and future expectations. Also, the role and interaction with the teacher is determinant in their level of engagement.
The Danish students are included in the study as a control group, to see the variations or similarities in which national and international individuals construct a sense of identity and engage in learning at CBS.


Keywords: Identity Construction, Intergroup Identity, Learning Processes, International Students
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Montse Badia Serrano

Student Assistant, CBS Learning Lab, Copenhagen Business School
Copenhagen, Denmark


Dr. Claus Nygaard

Associate Professor and Ph.D. Senior Advisor, CBS Learning Lab, Copenahgen Business School
Copenhagen, Denmark

Associate Professor and Senior Advisor at CBS Learning Lab, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Originally trained in business economics and administration, where he holds a Ph.D., he became Associate Professor in Economic Sociology at Department of Organization and Copenhagen Business School. In 2000 he changed position to CBS Learning Lab, and began to work with Quality Enhancement of Higher Education. He was a driving force behind the formulation and implementation of the “Learning Strategy” for Copenhagen Business School in 2005. He has received distinguished research awards from Allied Academies, outstanding paper awards from Students in Free Enterprise, and he was voted “best teacher” at Copenhagen Business School in 2001. His research has resulted in several anthologies, and he has published in leading journals like “Higher Education”, “International Studies of Management & Organization”, and “International Journal of Public Sector Management”.

Ref: L09P1307