Education for Global Citizenship at Universities: Potentialities of Formal and Informal Learning Spaces to Foster Cosmopolitanism

Alejandra Boni; Carola Calabuig
Journal of Studies in International Education

This article explores how three different learning spaces could be appropriate for developing a sense of global citizenship among university students. We draw on an interview study conducted at the Universitat Politècnica of Valencia (UPV) between 2010 and 2012. The spaces analyzed were two electives devoted to international cooperation, a mobility program that took place mainly in Latin American countries and a student-led university group. We examined the three spaces in terms of expansion of capabilities and agency related to global citizenship and cosmopolitanism using a conceptual framework that synthesizes Nussbaum’s and Sen’s capability approach with Delanty’s critical cosmopolitanism to explore the limits and potentialities of those three spaces. Although the exploratory character of our study cannot allow us to generalize our findings, what we can affirm is each of these areas has the potentiality to enhance global citizenship but with nuances, differences, and complementarities. The electives appear to be good spaces for the critical learning capability, while international mobility is a strong enabler for narrative imagination capabilities. Students belonging to Mueve showed elements of these capabilities plus a very strong emphasis on agency, which does not occur in the other two learning spaces. Critical cosmopolitan process happened both in Mueve and Meridies. In the student-led group, this cosmopolitan process begins with the local, while in the internships was the global encounter that initiates a cosmopolitan reflection.