Supporting international student employability outcomes


This e-poster presentation will highlight a project that investigated low international student participation rates in an undergraduate internship elective, Professional and Community Engagement (PACE), at an Australian university. The project explored perceptions of 40 international students about internships and perceived employability issues. The findings indicated that students did desire an Australian discipline-related work experience regardless of long-term intentions to leave or stay, but perceived a range of challenges to obtain desirable internships.

This e-poster will illustrate actions that PACE is taking in collaboration with other university services to support international students to obtain relevant internship and authentic industry-related experiences. The e-poster aims to stimulate discussions that will enable attendees to share their own experiences, ideas and collaboratively tackle this difficult problem faced by universities and their international students.

Take-home message: The problems faced by international students in gaining local industry experience are multifaceted but collaboratively, we can tackle them. 

Key interest area: Employability (EMP) 
Other key interest areas: Higher Education (HE), Learning and teaching (L&T)


Dr Jen McPherson
Faculty Academic Director of PACE, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Australia

Dr Jen McPherson’s present role includes teaching and research in work integrated learning. Other research interests include transformative learning, diversity and inclusion, reflective practice, teamwork, learning analytics and academic reading. In earlier roles at Macquarie University, Jen provided academic leadership to the university’s English Language Centre and has also taught academic writing on programs for international students on a pathway to university entry.

Dr Christine Bilsland


Macquarie University

Dr Christine Bilsland’s PhD thesis (2017) investigated work integrated learning and employability in transnational education. She previously lectured at RMIT Vietnam’s Hanoi campus for more than five years and has developed and delivered a range of education and training programs for international student audiences. With a background in the tourism industry, her journey in transnational education began in Singapore, where she coordinated work integrated learning training at a polytechnic and lectured at the Singapore campus of a UK university.