For many students around the world the prospect of studying in Australia seems I could be a great opportunity. However we often forget how difficult it must be adjusting to a new culture, especially while you’re studying at the same time.
The Australian International education industry makes $15 billion each year, which makes it “Australia’s third or fourth largest export industry.” And thus is very important to the Australian economy.
“A crucial element in the achievement of success for international students is not only their academic adjustment but also their adjustment to the social and cultural environment.”
Australia has a funny relationship with the English language, with the use of Australian colloquialisms even international students with English as their first language can have trouble understanding what Australians are saying. Imagine then how students that have only just learnt how to read and speak English cope. This inability to understand the Australian relaxed style of English (after only having learned the formal way to write and speak), plays a massive part not only socially but academically as well. A lot of the time students are unable to keep up in lectures and discussions especially if the lecturer/tutor uses informal English.
The language barrier is a huge obstacle for international students but we (locals) don’t tend to do much to make international students feel welcomed. Most international students want to be able to connect and interact with local students, to start making friends. Part many local students just “aren’t interested” there is a language and cultural barrier and we would rather not have to work so hard. This has severe ramifications for international students, unable to connect and interact with local students international students and of feeling alone in an unfamiliar setting.
So imagine you are an international student, you thought studying in Australia would be great, but when you got to Australia you can’t understand half the things people say and you’re feeling alone and homesick because you have known to connect with. And then as you walking home someone yells “Go back to your own country!”
For too many international students seems like this are all too common. We have a huge problem with racism in and that is made plainly evident in our treatment of many international students. Over the past six years there has been a disturbing amount of attacks against Indian students in Australia. This had a huge negative impact on not only Australia’s international education but also how Australia is seen globally.
I don’t know how to bring an end to the races of epidemic Australia but I know we have to do it together, within all the communities that make up Australia.
I would love to know your thoughts
Thanks for reading
Kell, P and Vogl, G, 2007