“…local practices must change. They must change. Australians are often… too parochial, trapped within an Australia-centred view of a diverse and complex world.” (Marginson 2012)
Imagine moving to a new country and trying to learn a new language, with no family, friends, anybody or anything familiar around you. The money is different, people look at you different (if they notice you at all) and you just can’t seem to fit in to a multicultural society that – by definition – is supposed to be embracing you.
As one of the hardest spoken languages on earth, Australian culture gives the english language a run for its money with it’s various shortcuts and slangs. Many students who travel to Australia to study find it difficult to keep up with the variations, having only learnt proper english by the book, not the version edited by society. These differences make it hard for overseas visitors to feel accepted or at home, because when they have trouble understanding you and you them – it’s not likely you’re going to strike up a conversation and form the kind of relationships people do in order to break down cultural barriers and most things tend to get lost in translation.
In order to create a welcoming and stable environment, it’s important to offer more support and encouragement than we would each other, taking into account that international students are automatically starting from a point of spoken and social disadvantage; and of course that over a third of our population is already foreign-born, and
The saying “treat others how you would like to be treated” comes to mind when explaining the importance of helping international students feel accepted and at home, especially as a young adult. I have personally never stepped a foot outside of my own country, but I know that I will, and when I do I’ll be putting a lot of my security, safety, language and direction into the hands of other people, and I could not honestly imagine doing all of that alone, could you?
Abs.gov.au 2010, 1370.0 – Measures of Australia’s Progress 2010, viewed 4 September 2015,<http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1370.0~2010~Chapter~Overseas%20born%20population%20(3.6)>
Marginson, S 2012, Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience: International education as self-formation powerpoint slides, viewed 4 September 2015.