Transnational online education is a set of practices that offer new resources, discourses and pathways for individuals to pursue their aspirations. It promises educational networks imagined beyond national boundaries and local protocols. It is this transnational imaginary that is reshaping how people interact in ‘globally defi ned fi elds of possibility’ (Appadurai 1990: 5). ‘Borderless’ online pedagogy and the imagined lifeworlds it opens are nurtured through strategic partnerships between institutions to mutual benefi t to source and sell educational products. This chapter delves beyond the visionary promise into lived though virtual realities, to probe the delicate cultural politics that are enacted online, and to demonstrate how the ‘local’ can still assert itself for better and for worse in the transnational imaginary. It offers an ethnographic account of selected interactions within a semester-long unit in a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). The unit was offered online by an Australian university to a student cohort including both ‘domestic’ enrolments and students enrolled through a Malaysian college.