International Education: Easy as ABC?

In the thriving 21st Century, finishing school and completing a university degree is simply not enough. Employers are now looking for employees with life skills and life experience; something that studying abroad facilitates. ‘International Students have a broader mindset’ (Top Universities, 2014), a desirable trait for companies in the current globalised economy.

International Students generally possess ‘high levels of motivation and dedication’ (Khorana, 2014). International Students but why do some International Students experience loneliness, isolation and anxiety when they come to Australia?

Surprisingly enough to us Aussies, Australia can be a very confusing place for people who have never been ‘Down Under.’ We do not speak ‘English’ as International Students are taught at schools. Instead we speak with a distinct Australian accent in a strange Australian language. Slang and colloquial words are used regularly in every day speech, we tend to shorten words like afternoon to arvo and university to uni which ‘confuse students who are used to a more formal type of English.’ (Kell and Vogl,2006). We don’t live lifestyles like those on Home and Away (or maybe those lucky enough to live in Wollongong might). What might seem like ridiculous stereotypes to us Aussies, can be expected from International Students who have had limited exposure to Australian culture. So when we’re not wearing thongs, singlets, have tans, a surfboard under our arm or cooking a shrimp on the barbie, it can be difficult for International Students to identify and connect with Australians. Some International Students can sometimes see ‘only Anglo Australians as ‘real’ Australians.’ (Kell and Vogl, 2006), however, according to the 2011 census, 1 in 4 Australians are born overseas. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Scene from Home and Away: Beach, Surfboard, Caucasian skin, tanned… Australian right?

I interact with International Students on a daily basis. I live at a university college… ‘International House,’ home to both Australians and International Students, and I now have friends from across the globe… Iceland, France, Sweden, America, Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia, teaching them some vital Australian slang along the way, I too would like to go on exchange one day and seeing the strength, maturity, responsibility and confidence of International Students  I have come across, it is truly inspiring and motivating to take part in the global education the world has to offer.


Graduate Jobs: What Employers Look For , Top Universities. 2014.Graduate Jobs: What Employers Look For | Top Universities,, accessed 20 August 2014

Khorana S, 2014, BCM111 Lecture Slides, Internationalising Education- Cultural Competence and Cosmopolitanism, delivered 13 August 2014

Kell, P., Vogl, G. 2006, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion. Everyday Multiculturalism Conference, Proceedings of the Everyday Multiculturalism Conference of the CRSI – 28-29 Sept. 2006: Online Publication, : Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University. Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011 Census reveals one in four Australians is born overseas. 2014. 2011 Census reveals one in four Australians is born overseas Accessed 20 August 2014


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