Today, when it comes to globalisation, many countries often see opportunities for a better education and better life Australia. According to Kell and Vogl, Australia has ‘assumed an important status as providing access to economic, educational and immigration opportunities’ (2007). While a lot of people from around the world are coming to Australia for an education, they are often finding it difficult to fit in. The following clip is a promotion for the documentary “Moving to Australia”.
While the clip does show some positive aspects of moving to and living in Australia, such as multiculturalism and friendly people, what the clip doesn’t show are the hardships that some people find when fitting in. While I don’t expect negative images to be shown in an Australian promotional clip, I would expect a more multicultural vision of Australia to be displayed. Only people from developed or Western countries were shown, nobody from developing countries were shown talking about their “great experience” of moving to and living in Australia. Due to Australia’s reputation as a multicultural country, you would think that many different people with different cultures would have been a part of the promotion. This is not exactly related to international education, however it shows how Western cultures often fit in more easily than others.
According to Marginson, ‘Australians are often too parochial, trapped within an Australian-centred view of a diverse and complex world.’ He also believes that the cultural identity of students, from developing countries such as China or Africa, is ‘seen as a barrier that must be broken down’ (2012). I think this means that often Australians are too focused on Australian people and their country and not often finding time to understand and make feel welcome other different cultures.
Marginson believes that ‘international education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be’ (2012). This view is supported in a documentary, ‘Convenient Education‘, that aired on SBS. It shows a a different side of Australia and international education, mainly focusing on the unexpected unhappiness of the students in their new home, where they were supposed to be living a “dream life”.
This proves that international education in Australia is not all it’s cracked up to be. But why?
While you might think that international students are different, and in many ways they are, they are also similar to us in many ways. ‘Multiplicity‘ is something I have in common with international students. Marginson describes multiplicity as when a ‘student becomes more than one person living more than one life’. He states that ‘we all do it to some extent. We all have multiple connections, multiple settings in which we live our lives, home, family, locality, profession, arenas in which we are active, in one place or another’ (2012). For me multiplicity is a major part of my life. I am a local in Canberra, where I was born, but I study in Wollongong. I live in Wollongong 3 days a week where I receive my education. I then drive back to Canberra for the remaining 4 days where I work, play sport, see my family, friends and boyfriend. This is not the extremely different lives and identities that international students often must adapt to, but it allows me to relate to them with similar experiences.
International students often find the cultural change very difficult, however a lot of their experiences are the same as our experiences, and sharing these experiences together can help those international students to make the transition and become a part of their new life, socially and culturally.
According to the Student’s Union at the University of Sheffield: “We are all international students”