Cara Lambregts

The Global Classroom: Insights from Alfonso Díaz Segura of CEU Educational Group


CEU is the largest nonprofit, private education group in Spain, with three universities in Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona.

Alfonso Díaz Segura, Corporate Director for Business Operations, Marketing & Internationalization at CEU Educational Group is responsible for international policies at CEU and has implemented the Global Classroom, a framework of initiatives that allows students to acquire soft skills in internationalisation, regardless of where they come from and which degree they are studying. Therefore, the international experience permeates all the layers at the institution, from teachers to staff, focusing on the students.

Alfonso explains “When it comes to internationalization within study programmes, there is often a misconception. By recruiting international students, you become an international programme. However, this could not be further from the truth. When you look at a classroom where there have been international recruits but not general internationalization – you can see a divide. Students from the same countries have the tendency to stay together rather than expanding outside of their circle. For example, you can walk into a classroom where there are students from all over the world, however the French students will be sitting with the French students, Chinese students with Chinese students etc.”

The Global Classroom concept leads to opportunities such as virtual exchange projects with students and universities from around the world.

There are two main dimensions:

  1. You take advantage of the international students who are physically on your campus and transform their reality by bringing them closer with the national and other international students.
  2. The virtual exchange project is able to enrich the lives of not only the international students that you are hosting but also the lives of the national students who would otherwise not be able to have this learning experience with students from around the world.

For institutions looking for holistic internationalization, Alfonso gives the following advice:

“Be ready for a transformation of your institution and let this desire impact every layer of the institution. There is an academic layer. There is an administrative layer. There is a board. There are services in so many faculties and in so many topics in the university that you need to be aware of. To recruit international students, everything must be changed. Be aware of a whole cultural transformation. Be patient and keep on. And remember – You have a set objective, but you can change the plan.”

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