Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Doyle Stevick


This study explores how two rural public school districts in South Carolina conceptualize and implement an international education, according to the perspectives of administrators and teachers. This comparative case study of two public school districts spans the districts’ elementary, middle, high and career center schools and seeks to understand how the presence of a major multinational corporation influences school internationalization. The data on their perspectives on internationalization were drawn from interviews. I interviewed the school principal and teachers involved in internationalizing the curriculum, policy and practice in each of the ten schools. In addition to school level personnel, I interviewed district level curriculum specialists and instructor coordinators in both districts. Participants emphasized the importance of learning to communicate in a language other than one’s native tongue and everyone agreed that an international curriculum is important. All of the administrators interviewed expressed their belief that internationally educated students would have a clear advantage over traditionally educated students and be, in their own words, “more well-rounded”. Most of the interviewees discussed changing students’ points of view and helping them see from a broader perspective. Tolerance was a term used by many of the interviewees. They want students to understand that other people’s viewpoints are acceptable and that does not mean that anyone is wrong. The administration from both districts, however, felt that internationalization would not become a school focus unless it was mandated by the state government or department of education. One theme of many of the interviews was preparing students to be college and career ready. They emphasized that students need to be prepared to get a job and be productive citizens in society. The two school districts have international corporations within the county where their graduates want to work and live. There is an interesting paradox taking place in these districts. The districts are appropriating internationalization into their curriculum in order to allow their graduates to remain local. Data revealed a second paradoxical situation. Both districts have a large population of Hispanic, Russian, and Ukrainian students. The paradox is the fact that the district is preparing local students to become international in order for them to receive better jobs but is “Americanizing” immigrant students in order to assimilate them. Internationalization is taking place in South Carolina, but it is not always clear why it happens at a certain location. Having a multinational company would seem to be conducive to internationalization. In this case, its presence seemed to encourage modest steps towards internationalization, such as expanding the presence of the German language in the curriculum, but did not lead to broader implementation of internationalization nor broader conceptions of internationalization. Instead, the primary goal of the district is to promote local employment opportunities for their American students.