Internationalising Education

“International education is more than a profit-making business. It is an educational and social experience. It is an experience with immense potential to enrich the lives of all who are touched by it”. (Marginson, S. 2012)

Upon moving to Wollongong I had to choose campus accommodation. I originally applied for Weerona College, a largely Australian dominated college with many people from my hometown living there. I didn’t receive my first pick and was instead offered a place at International House Wollongong. I had mixed emotions about arriving at International House but after living here for six months I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have experienced firsthand international students arriving from all over the world and the process of them settling into their studies in Australia.

A student arriving in Australia can often struggle to adapt to the Australian way of life. In Marginson’s reading he focuses on the need for the international student experience to change. He believes that “the pathway to improvement lies in lifting the interactions between international students and local persons, especially students” (Marginson, S. 2012).

In relation to international house, Marginson’s theory is true, firsthand experience shows that international students are always more motivated and willing to interact with other students and participate in activities run by the college in comparison to local students who often don’t share the enthusiasm or lack the motivation.

Marginson believes that the pathway to improvement and smoothing out the struggle is in creating closer interactions between international students and local students. “The majority of international students want closer interaction with local students, and are prepared to take risks to achieve this but most local students are not interested”. (Marginson, S. 2012)

Whilst agreeing with Marginson, Kell and Vogl stress the difficulty of the Australian accent which may play a part in the creating closer interactions. Many international students prior to coming to Australia have spent many years learning to speak English. Upon arrival the local accents, fast speech and Australian colloquialisms greatly reduce their ability to speak and understand English in Australia. It is not only English language that prevents students from speaking and mixing with local students but also knowing what to speak about. (Kell, P & Vogl, G. 2007)

Therefore to improve the experience of international students and their integration into Australian culture, the responsibility does not solely lie on local students but is shared with international students as well. Using both Marginson’s theory, local students must provide a welcoming attitude for international students and create closer interactions and Kell and Vogl’s theory that despite learning English international students still do not engage in conversation because they struggle to know topics to speak on, both parties can come to terms and create a positive experience for all.

Reference List:
Kell, P. & Vogl, G. 2007, International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion. Accessed: 18th August, 2014

Marginson, S. 2012, International education as self-formation, Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience, University of Melbourne, Accessed: 18th August, 2014

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