In a world where globalisation is affecting everything around us, from the shows we watch to the food we eat, education and its need to diversify and reflect our hybrid cultures is a growing issue in Australia and around the world.
It is important for Australia to have a globalised and cultured curriculum in educational institutions to compete in a global market during the “Asian Century”. We are geographically situated in a hotspot of global activity and our education needs to reflect the diversity in our immediate area. At the moment this isn’t the case with decreases in the number of students learning Asian languages. Not only this, but Australia does not accommodate to international students in a way that is welcoming and comforting during what could be the biggest step of a foreign student’s education, career and life.
Australia’s biggest and closest trade partners are Asian countries, but we continue to see declines in Australia’s students’ willingness to learn foreign languages, particularly Asian languages. The opposite is happening in Asian countries with English introduced as a compulsory subject in schools. A blogger for ABC’s The Drum states that English is the language of the Asian Century.
There are still many stereotypes regarding international students in Australia, particularly Asian students. Lecturers, tutors and other students may underestimate an international student’s academic ability and categorise them as unable to cope with the Australian way of learning and teaching. This can cause alienation and discrimination in the classroom and have a negative impact on the students’ learning experience and overall experience in Australia.
Personally, I found the issue of international students not being allowed to possess a travel concession card particularly discriminating to foreign students. They left their home country for the opportunity for a “better” education, using up life savings and possibly taking out loans and, unlike many Australian students who have the choice to pay off their university fees through HECS, international students have to pay in full. International students are living away from their families, usually without access to their own transport.
This blog from ABC’s, The Drum states that Australia’s stereotyping is due to our lack of engagement with Asian countries in our region. This is not beneficial from an economic, educational or political perspective.
How can Australian education grow from international student exchanges?