An Ode to the “Volunteer”: University of Jyväskylä's Internationalization Success... Or Is It?

This piece offers a personal and critical perspective on JYU's approach to internationalization, specifically focusing on the experiences of students like me from the Global South. Drawing on my own journey first as a doctoral researcher and now as a Postdoc at JYU, I argue that the dismissive "volunteer" label undermines international students' contributions while perpetuating exclusionary power dynamics. I examine the impact of linguistic barriers, systemic challenges, and the lingering colonial mindset embedded within JYU's policies. I intend to point out the disconnect between rhetoric and reality. Crucially, this reflection comes from a place of respect for JYU. I aim to spark a transformative institutional dialogue about redefining internationalization, focusing on genuine inclusivity, and recognizing international students as equal partners.