Developing global graduates or global citizens is a goal often expressed in university mission statements. This study draws on Amadasi and Holliday's (2017) distinction of block narratives and thread narratives of culture and applies these to interviews with first year students. It shows that some ability to draw on thread narratives and therefore non-essentialist views of culture is in evidence from the start of students’ university careers. Universities need to implement policy and practice to foster the emergence of these abilities and thus enable students to acquire the attributes of a ‘global graduate’. This will also ensure that ‘internationalisation at home’ is not a value-free concept.