Improving International Involvement

The internationalisation of education has become a highly significant part of Australia’s culture. Not only does the presence of international students have momentous positive economic impacts, they also (more importantly) assist in generating a social and educational experience which is fundamental in the creation of cross cultural relationships and the promotion of multiculturalism. However, in order for “international education to continue to succeed as a business in this country, the student experience must keep improving… as an intercultural encounter” (Marginson 2012)

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According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “International Students are often isolated in Australia” (Source: Sydney Morning Herald 2016, Photo: Louise Kennerley)

Marginson (2012) argues that “international education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be”. This is to say, that in order for the social and psychological experience of international students to be maximised, action must be taken by the education system to provide support and programs to assist in their transition. As Hellsten (2002) points out: “whilst coming to a new and foreign country is often times an exciting and rich event, the experience can be constrained by uncertainty and disorientation of finding your way around new cultures and social expectations”.

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Kell and Vogl (2006) discuss the challenges international students face in regard to language barriers (here)

That is to say that in order to enhance the experience of the International Student, and hence reap the greatest benefits from both parties, “pedagogical strategies” must work towards greater interactions between local and international students, and the promotion of multiculturalism and acceptance within the learning process. This, in turn is linked intrinsically with Marginson’s explanation of ‘self-formation’. Through an analogy of identity struggle and its importance, it is apparent that international students “want to change themselves in the country of education”(Marginson 2012).

 

A promotional video from the university of Wollongong, highlighting examples of specialised programs and events for International Students

Hence, we are now challenged as a community, and more broadly, the education system of Australia, to develop and implement strategies and programs that provide the greatest opportunities for the people who play such an important role in our society and culture. In the words of Sen, we must focus on “the contribution that the capability to be educated makes to the formation and expansion of human capabilities, and hence… to the people’s opportunities for leading flourishing lives” (eds Walker & Unterhalter 2007, p. 20).

References:

Hellsten, M 2002, “Students in transition: Needs and Experiences of International Students in Australia”, paper presented at the 16th Australian International Education Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, viewed 4th September 2016

Kell, P and Vogl, G 2006, “International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia” paper presented at The Everyday Multiculturalism Conference Proceedings, Macquarie University, 28-29 September 2006, viewed 5th September 2016

Marginson, S 2012, “Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience: International education as self-formation” Lecture Slides, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne, accessed 5th September 2016

Walker, M and Unterhalter, E (eds) 2007, Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach and Social Justice in Education, Palgrave MacMillan, New York

Featured Image: “International students welcome day” by Università di Pavia, licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

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