“International education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be.” (Marginson, 2012)
International education lays the foundation for globalisation in our world – determining the success of global trade industries, internationally capable workforces and communication across continents and cultures. Why then, must we have such fixed ideas of this segment of education when it acts as the very catalyst for positive change in an ever-evolving world? Must local students make assumptions about such a significantly large portion of fellow students that will in the future shape Australia’s connections with the rest of the world?
The ignorance evident in Australian culture towards other diverse ethnicities and nationalities speaks volumes about the attitude of local students towards international students. When international students from a focus group were questioned, “if ‘Australians’ wanted to get to know them?” a majority felt that “’Australians’ did not want to know them” (Kell & Vogl, 2006). Australians have essentially created an ideal whereby there is an expectation where the “international student makes an orderly progression from home identity to host country identity” (Marginson, 2012) – a potentially lethal pressure for overseas students to assimilate into Australian culture. The danger in the hostile ideology revolves around its potential to ward off future international students seeking an Australian education – eventually hindering the country’s connections with the wider world.
So what’s the solution? Many universities are already attempting to combat this dip in cultural competence by focusing promotional content and resources on International students. The videos below are just a few showcasing the studying abroad experience at UOW.
- Marginson, Simon. “International Education As Self-Formation”. 2012. Lecture.
- Kell, Peter and Gillian Vogl. “International Students: Negotiating Life And Study In Australia Through Australian Englishes”. (2006): Pg 6.