Being an Australian born student, it’s not hard to believe that my experience as an international student has been limited. Growing up in a reasonably confined rural area, my view on international students has been shaped through various media forms and social environments. Having not been overseas also adds to my perplexed knowledge on international students and life outside of Australia.
A major part of my understanding of students studying abroad comes from my good friend whom lives with two Chinese boys, and has so for 3 years now. He explains to me that he was very parochial to begin with and hated his mother for encouraging them to have abroad students. But after getting to know them, he realised that they were just normal people looking for higher education, new experiences and to learn about Australian culture, that they were funny and kind. Simon Marginson(2012) elaborates on this intention that the underlying narrative is, “why else would international students enrol in English speaking institutions, unless they want to be like ‘us”. Australians are often too parochial, trapped within an Australia-centred view of a diverse and complex world.
Much research from Marginson(2012) suggests the pathway to improvement lies in lifting the interactions between international students and local persons, especially students. But it is not just the local students who are to parochial. It is all of us. We need to think more broadly about the way we have all positioned international students. Most of the research on cross-cultural relations in international education is insightful but most of the literature is ethnocentric. The problem is deeply grounded and we have to move forward.
– Marginson, S “International Education as Self-Formation” (2012). University of Wollongong. p.51-61 [accessed: 24th August, 2014].