My interest in studying abroad and contributing to the global ‘ethnoscape’, a term coined by social-cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, was a topic explored in the third lecture in BCM111. Citing the growth in countries economies and the diversification their cultures were enjoying, it was made clear that the flow of people around the world drives change and with it comes many benefits. Showcasing just how small the world’s seemingly become due in part to the rise of the ‘technoscape’ (eat your heart out Appadurai), I’d been perusing the University of Sheffield’s website the night before the lecture and trying to work out rough expenses and opportunities for potential international students when the next day we were treated to a video on the Sheffield Uni site which detailed the experiences of international students there.

intl3x5

Purportedly international students at Sheffield Uni

Apart from just being a funny coincidence, it’s emblematic of the larger international embracement of diversity while, as Simon Marginson wrote, ‘[Australia’s] international education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be’. This resonated with me, as while we’re ranked by UNESCO as being the fourth highest receiver of international students, we’re not even in the top ten of contributing roaming students. Additionally, Australia has received it’s share of foreign bad press in the past regarding foreign students studying in our country experiencing racist attitudes and difficulty fitting in. Following the slate of violence against Indian students in particular during 2009/2010, the Sydney Morning Herald found that ‘the number of Indians seeking an Australian education plummeted from … 120,000 in 2009 to 37,000’. Domestically in India, the fears of these attacks driven by constant media reports sunk our flow of students. It’s apparent that as a whole, our country possess a decisively parochial mindset and is stuck assuming that we’ve done our part and we already are diverse enough. Marginson backs this up, finding that ‘most local students are not interested’ in interacting with international students. We’re passively allowing, yet aren’t encouraging to its full potential, access to our country’s education system to those from overseas while private ventures like AITE College as seen on the SBS program ‘Convenient Education‘ are forced under as government restrictions on visas are brought it. The effect of this is a skills shortage for jobs that international students who seek a residency here would be happy filling.

Australia is a country whose origins are entwined with immigration and a coexistence, ideally an embracement, of those who are different from us to create a progressive land free from persecutions and discrimination. Unfortunately, this has devolved over the years into a country which has rested on it’s laurels and has failed to adapt to a changing world. International students, the natural evolution of migration, have been shunned and our façade as an accepting and tolerant country is gradually being whittled away at by shows of violence and indifference at racist attitudes purveyed by the public.

Clearly we’ve a problem of perception, as international students aren’t here to  take our jobs; they’re generally here to fulfill roles we either don’t want to or can’t, or to strengthen our countries infrastructure by providing us money and access to a larger pool of doctors, scientists, professionals, etc.

I can’t see the downside.


References:

Convenient Education. 2015. Convenient Education. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.sbs.com.au/convenienteducation/documentary/. [Accessed 12 August 2015].

UNESCO Institute for Statistics . 2015. Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/international-student-flow-viz.aspx. [Accessed 14 August 2015].

Jen Rosenberg, Matt Wade. Repairing the road to Oz. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/repairing-the-road-to-oz-20120729-2365d.html. [Accessed 14 August 2015].

Simon Marginson, International education as self-formation [ONLINE] Available at:
https://focusonteaching.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@cedir/documents/doc/uow119828.pdf 
[Accessed 14 August 2015].

KINGZHOUYANG. 2015. Global cultural homogenization VS Cultural heterogenization. [ONLINE] Available at: https://kingzhouyang.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/global-cultural-homogenization-vs-cultural-heterogenization-2/. [Accessed 14 August 15].

http://wp-assets.shef.ac.uk/content/uploads/2013/11/intl3x5.jpg.

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