Strategy for Internationalization Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic: The Success Story of Virtual Summer Program at Universitas Padjadjaran


International Summer Programs have become one of the major activities to promote students’ mobility and internationalization of many higher education institutions (HEI) in Indonesia. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many HEI canceled their summer program in 2020 as the government’s lockdowns closed the border for international students. Many organizers then innovated to change their summer programs into virtual ones with a series of academic webinars. Although the virtual summer programs warrant some benefits, the Zoom fatigue and lack of physical interaction limit students’ experience in terms of the traditional program benefits. Moreover, virtual summer programs require a different strategy for assimilating cultural experiences similar to the traditional pre-COVID model. This paper showcases the success story of an international virtual summer program organized by the Faculty of Economics and Business Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia in August 2021. Attracting 900 applicants from several countries, the virtual summer program was run successfully for eight days with 375 select participants. The program involved speakers from 8 countries and participants from 10 countries. Some success strategies learned from the case include targeted marketing strategy, innovative programs, small group interactions, and digital cultural experience. This study, therefore, contributes to the literature on internationalization of HEI by providing strategies for internationalization effort of HEI amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: summer program, virtual, internationalization, COVID-19

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