International students contribute significantly to Australian society; there presents heavily impacts the strength of the Australian economy. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the international education sector contributed $16.3 million in export income to the Australian economy in 2010-11. The graph below clearly illustrates that international student enrolment has steadily increased over the years. The largest contributor country of international students, with one fifth of all student visa applications lodged and granted were from China. In 2010, there were 617,000 overseas student enrolments in various international education sectors. Therefore, it is important for Australia to keep improving education and social activities. To help achieve the ultimate goal of attracting more international students to come study Down Under.
The decision to study abroad can be a life changing experience; along the way international students are faced with many ambiguities. International students have to quickly adjust to their new social and cultural environments. Although they are living far away from home and they are absent from the unconditional love and support provided by their family. International students use this as momentum and motivation to achieve academic success. Kell and Vogl (2007, p.3) state that, “While academic success may heighten a student’s confidence, social and cultural adjustment can be important factor that lead to this academic success.”
Throughout the world Australians are viewed as a friendly nation. However, many Australians live a busy lifestyle and international students struggle to break through the social barriers. Consequently, this leads to alienation, homesickness and anxiety. According to Marginson (2012, p.2), “Australians are often too parochial, trapped within an Australian-centred view of a diverse and complex world.” Revealing individuals within society restrict themselves from getting to understanding international students; believing the Australian culture is ethnocentric. The highly publicized violent attacks on Indian students in 2009-10, resulted in Australia’s relationship with India being severed. Further shock waves were sent throughout the Australian international student community when a group of 6 teenagers tormented two Chinese international students on a train in Sydney. In this technological era Australia could not deny the disgraceful attacks, with one of the victim’s online posting, being re-tweeted more than 10,000 times within a day on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
In order to achieve harmony in Australia, we must engage in cosmopolitanism. Instead of being hesitant to overcome our differences we must accept and value that the world is filled with diversity.
Kell, P and Vogl, G (2007) ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’ Everyday Multiculturalism, Conference Proceedings, Macquarie University, 28-29 September 2006
Marginson, S (2012) ‘International education as self-formation: Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’ Lecture delivered at the University of Wollongong, 21 February 2012