Trying to find that ‘Cultural-Fit’
‘What to consider when deciding to study abroad’
The term ‘International Student’ reflects an individual experiencing study abroad using a temporary Visa at an educational institution. An international student is suggested to have high levels of motivation with the ability to enter a new country with minimal assistance from others.
Current statics display that Australia is the third largest English speaking country for International Students to study abroad at, after the United States, and the United Kingdom. International students are open to accept positions at Australian institutions as well as postgraduate courses. Studying internationally in Australia also allows for scholarship opportunities. The Australian Government provides over $200 million dollars for international students coming to study in Australia each year.
This video emphasises the reasons why many international students choose Australia to study abroad at.
Alongside these benefits for studying abroad in Australia, there are common difficulties faced by these individuals. Research in international education suggests that international students desire closer interaction with local students, advocating that local students are trapped in their parochial ways.
The term ‘cultural fit’ suggests the more similarities that a student shows towards its host country, the more happier and sound the student will feel academically. However, psychological research presents that this is not true, as the more diverse characteristics between student and host country makes for a more successful international student.
Together with the term ‘cultural fit’ Marginson suggests “Australians are often to parochial, trapped within an Australian-centred view of a diverse and complex world” (Marginson P.1-2), making fellow Australian individuals unlikely to communicate with international students. Likewise Marginson, research produced by the Macquarie University in the text ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’ advocates that it is quite important for international students to establish a common ground when communicating with Australian students. This establishes asense of belonging and provides ‘cultural fit’, for example discussion about local television shows.
This video outlines the struggles Chinese international students experience whilst studying abroad, as well as advice provided by their parents on how to overcome these struggles.
Overall it comes down to both the international students and local students when attaining social connection and belonging. The international students experiencing the parallel universe of a new culture are exposed to the disconnection of local students who have so called ‘busy lifestyles’. International students are vulnerable to acquire a cosmopolitanism lifestyle, reflecting acceptance and openness for change and diversity. This is complex as Australians appear distant and disinterested when placed in situations alongside international students. The intercultural experiences formed by international students is highly reflective of the term ‘self-formation’. Self-formation suggests students experience self-managed growth entailing knowledge of economic consumption, living styles, media, peer cultures, and work in their host country. If these self-formation idiosyncrasies are achieved it will make for an easier transition for international students when studying abroad.
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