“The Other Guys”: Internationalising Education and Cultural Competence

bf.pngHave you ever woken up one morning, looked out your window and wondered what was out there in the big wide world. Many people have decided to make that journey in order to gain a better education than in their home country. Some of them, are even here in Wollongong!

Well Just How Many Are There?

The amount of international students coming to Australia has increased exponentially in the last few decades. The International Student Data 2015 reported that there were 272,095 international students in 2015 as opposed to around 30,000 in 1994. The University of Wollongong also boasts that they have 13,539 international students in Australia and abroad. As Kell and Vogl (2007, p.2-3) have identified, there has also been an increase in the amount of non-English speaking students seeking a brighter future.

Are They Here to Party or Study?

The majority of international students, particularly non-English speaking students, are definitely here to study. They have a much stronger work ethic in their studies than the local students because they are having to pay their fees upfront. Many of these students also struggle socially because of the Australian accent and slang.

Do They Like Us?

Australian’s like to see itself as a proud nation with sunshine and beaches all year round. However, as reported by Rosenberg and Wade (2012), after attacks on Indian students in 2009-10 was reported in both countries, the number of international students plummeted. The number of Indian students coming to Australia fell from 120,000 in 2009 to 37,000. Despite this, the appeal of sunshine and a better education has now brought the numbers back to where they were in 2009.

Summary

Australia has thousands of international students from all over the globe. Despite the fact that the numbers are growing due to the Australian lifestyle and superior education, it is important to maintain a positive image, otherwise the numbers may drop again.

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