This study seeks to understand the influence of global-local connections in the context of international schools in Egypt. The goal of this study is to examine social and cultural processes in elite, international schools in Egypt that reinforce and reproduce distinction and privilege. Unraveling this process is done using a mixed methods, vertical case study framed by the work of Pierre Bourdieu through the perspectives of school alumni. International schools are unique and exclusive sites where global inputs–teachers, curriculum, language–flow largely unfiltered into these local schools. Yet, little research exists that analyzes the influence of these global inputs in local school contexts, if any adaptation or inclusion of the local context transpires, or the subsequent long term influence this field has on students (re)positioning into society. Quantitative results indicate that global-local connections in international schools persistently focus on internationalization at the expense of localization. The lack of localization subsequently increases differentiation within Egypt’s society. Qualitative results support these quantitative findings that perceptions of differentiation are largely related to the cultivation of global rather than local connections. As a result, these schools act as exclusive vectors of cosmopolitanism, subsequently, deepening social class divides while simultaneously reinforcing students’ privilege and distinction. However, this distinction, cultivated and legitimized by elite, international schools, provides both advantages and disadvantages depending on the orientation of the field in which they are participating and individuals’ abilities to operationalize legitimatized local and transnational capital.
Ericka Galegher has a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education from Lehigh University. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, Dr. Galegher conducts research on international and private education, education in Egypt, and education and teacher preparation for the integration of refugees and marginalized groups. She has an M.A. in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo, Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education from the College of New Jersey, and a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University. She has worked in the education sector in Egypt for over twelve years as a teacher, administrator, and researcher and on educational development projects. Dr. Galegher resides in Egypt where she continues to publish, lecture, and provide professional development seminars to educators using her research on international schools and im/migrants and refugees.
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