International students have been commonly constructed by researchers and practitioners using multiple conflicting narratives. For instance, discourses in both research and practice often frame international students as benefits or resources for developing intercultural learning experiences, while simultaneously portraying them as lower quality students who are deficient in academic skills. In this study, we investigate whether academic staff who teach international students have internalised these common and conflicting discourses from the literature and how these constructions ultimately influence their teaching practices. Through interviews with 45 academic staff across disciplines, we highlight the ways staff juxtapose dual constructions of international students as both ‘benefit’ and ‘burden’. Our findings indicate that staff working conditions, including high workloads and massification, lend themselves to problematic ‘othering’ of international students through homogenisation and deficit narratives.