Original Research

The relationship between internationalisation, creativity and transformation: A case study of higher education in Hungary

Melanie K. Smith, Vilmos Vass
Transformation in Higher Education | Vol 2 | a22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/the.v2i0.22 | © 2017 Melanie K. Smith, Vilmos Vass | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 May 2017 | Published: 18 September 2017

About the author(s)

Melanie K. Smith, School of Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality, Budapest Metropolitan University, Hungary
Vilmos Vass, Institute of Social Sciences and International Relations, Budapest Metropolitan University, Hungary


The main objective of this article is to explore the relationship between internationalisation, creativity and transformation in the context of higher education. It is argued in academic theory that the process of internationalisation in higher education has two pillars: transformational learning and creative development, and that creativity is an integral part of transformational learning. To explore this relationship further, the authors draw on primary research undertaken in the context of a higher education institution in Budapest, Hungary. A Delphi study with senior academic staff and a focus group with Hungarian and international students were included in the research. Questions were asked which aimed to determine whether creativity is indeed an integral part of transformational learning, and whether creativity and transformation are the most important elements of internationalisation. Staff and students recognise the creative and transformative potential of internationalisation, but they also identified several challenges. These include encouraging students to go beyond instrumental approaches to learning, providing staff with the relevant training and support, changing the culture of institutions and overcoming the lack of flexibility in existing national education structures. Overall, the research findings reinforced theoretical perspectives, which propose creative thinking, cooperative and communicative learning, project-based and problem-solving activities as some of the main tools in the process of transformational learning and prerequisites for internationalisation.


Higher education; internationalization; transformation; creativity; Hungary


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