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Objectives

Discuss about the Opportunities and challenges for international students in Australia.

Education can be considered as the most important basic necessity is life on which the entire living standard and opportunities of particular individual depends. In the present age of extreme competition each and every individual has the right to optimal educational opportunities. Although, it has to be understood that there are many disparities in the educational opportunities in all of the nations, and hence a vast majority of deserving students fly abroad to seek better educational opportunities with hopes and dreams of making a wonderful career that provided the financial stability in life (He, Lopez and Leigh 2012). Now, according to recent statistics, Australia, United Kingdom and United States of America, are the three regions that provide the best and most career-oriented educational opportunities for the students worldwide and that is the prime reason why a massive percentage of students look for opportunities to avail a chance to study in these countries (Crawford and Candlin 2013).

Now it has to be mentioned that Australia is considered to be an opportunity hub among the students for its world leading educational system or structure. And hence the exceptional educational opportunities from Australia attract a large pool of international students from the world, especially from the Asian countries. There is a steady expansion in the influx rate of international students in Australia. Among all the benefits that the international students get, there are also a few challenges that these students face while trying to survive in the Australian culture and society (Harmon 2015). This project will attempt to explore and critically evaluate the opportunities and challenges that the international students face while attempting to obtain a degree from Australia.

Any research project is dependent on the set of objectives that are pre-determined for streamlining the progress of the research project. The objectives serve the purpose of a framework that directs the researcher with the correct path that the research is going to take to achieve all the specific activities that the research is going to perform (Mayoh and Onwuegbuzie 2015). The research objectives decided for this project are:

  • To explore the international student population in Australia
  • The benefits or opportunities that the international students are availing while studying in Australia.
  • The challenges or issues that the international students are facing while studying in Australia
  • The possible strategic recommendations that can overcome the challenges and improve the scenario for the international students.

Education is by far the most important thing in the human life, and it has to be understood in this context that on the present age the career opportunities are intricately associated with the different academic domains and hence to obtain a financially stable career, the importance of a spotless academic record is crucial. Hence, there is need for an optimally welcoming environment for the international students that migrate here in attempt to secure a prosperous future for themselves (Roberts et al. 2012). It has to be mentioned that Australia provides significant opportunities for the international students studying there, which is primarily one of the contributing factors behind the extreme influx of students in Australian universities. But there also are a few significant accommodation and acculturation issues that facilitate a few challenges and complications in the lives of the international students of Australia (Obeng-Odoom 2012). This project will provide ample opportunity to explore all the disparities and barriers that are prevalent in the educational system for the international students in Australia, and the external and internal factors contributing to the escalation of these issues.

International Student Population of Australia

International student is term that can be defined as the students that are pursuing a degree from a university or educational institution that is based in a country where they are not a native citizen of. For instance, in case of Australia, the international students for Australia are the ones that are pursuing some or the other educational degree from the Australia universities all the while not being a permanent citizen of Australia. According to the recent statistics, education services are the third largest service export in case of Australia and along with that a recent repot has also discovered that in most of the Australian universities, there are more than 50% students who belong to the non-English speaking categories. And according to the article by the Taylor and Sidhu (2012), despite the welcoming benefits provided by the educational or academic authorities of different Australian universities, the international students face a myriad of difficulties and issues in order to progress in their own academic studies due to the difficult acculturation process in the foreign country. On a more elaborative note, the rate of international students in Australia has been increasing in a steady rate in the last decade and the numbers have spiked up considerably in the past couple of years as well. Based on the data of the last couple of years the international student population of Australia has increased by 15% in the last year itself, and the numbers are still rising as well. In the year of 2017 itself, within March 480092 students enrolled themselves in the Australian education system out of which 280000 were enrolled for in the university courses  and the data had been shared by the Australian department of education and training in the month of may this year (Ng 2012). Now elaborating more on the international student population of the country, almost 30% of the international students are from China, and along with that almost 11% of the international student population of Australia belongs to India. According to the national report, the rest 4% of the international student population comes to Australia from Malaysia, Vietnam, and Nepal. Hence, it can be safely concluded that the most of the international student population of Australia comes from the Asian countries and hence, the cultural and socio-economic differences between the countries facilitate significant levels of challenges and issues in the lives of the students studying abroad in Australia. According to the Campbell (2012), an annual profit of 22.4 billion Australia dollars are generated n the Australian economy due to the ever increasing arte of the international students arriving to different Australian universities. Hence, it has to be mentioned in this context that there are a large number of attractive benefits are provided to the international students so that they are attracted to study in Australia rather than any other possible countries with good educational opportunities like the United States of America and United Kingdom.

Why Australia is a Popular Destination for International Students

First and foremost, it has to be mentioned that the economic growth that Australia has witnessed in the last decade has been outstanding, for the year 2017, the GDP has been AUD$1.69 trillion, and the booming economy and the resultant myriad of professional opportunities are the primary reason that have attracted the majority of the attention of the international students. Considering the contributing factors that drive the large influx of the international students studying in Australia, one of the most possible reason can be the fact that Australia has total seven universities of Australia that belong to the top 100 in the QS rankings and according to the most of the authors, these leading class Australian universities provide the best of the courses or educational programs all across the world. And along with that, the Australian universities provide the most promising the courses for the subjects like nursing, sports disciplines, engineering, medicine and pharmacy and hence, a large number of students are attracted to the Australian universities for pursuing the higher education degrees. Along with that, according to the Altbach (2015), the Australian universities provide the best coursework design or framework that provides the best research-intensive academic culture which is significantly more career oriented than any other countries. Furthermore, according to the input provided by the recent statistics, industries like automobile, construction, infrastructure and IT is booming industries in Australia which are by far the most attractive industries to the aspiring students.

Along with that according to Wenhua and Zhe (2013), the Australian cities are by far the most student friendly cities and societies that provide the best of the opportunities for the international students from diverse cultural backgrounds to live. Australian community is considered to be the most culturally diverse community and almost half of the student population of Australia is from the different cultural backgrounds belonging to cities all over the world. Along with that a promising scholarship is provided to the culturally diverse international student populations in the Australia which attracts a large pool of international students to Australia.

The technological infrastructure of Australian universities is also much more advanced than any other countries with the research framework of science, medicine and technical framework provided by the Australian universities are far better. And hence the research opportunities in the Australian universities are exceptional as compared to the other universities as well, and hence the international students are attracted to the Australian universities as well (Parker 2012).

Student-friendly Cities and Societies

Another feather in the hat for Australian higher education system is the fact that the international students are given the excellent opportunity to start off their career and temporarily work in the Australia after their course is completed. The temporary graduate visa provided by the Australian government to the international students facilitates graduate work stream and the post study work stream facilities as well, and hence the international students get the astounding opportunity to begin the career in the Australian labour market which is undoubtedly a great kick start for their career (Gribble 2014).

Along with that, when considering the cost o living in Australia, Harrison and Ip (,2013) have discussed the lifestyle standards despite being world class in Australia; the daily expense for living in Australia is considerably lesser for Australia when compared to that of United States of America or United Kingdom. The scholarship structure is also enticing for the international students given the fact that the annual cost of pursuing a degree in Australia is 14000 to 15000 Australian dollars, the scholarships like Fulbright-Anne Wexler Scholarship, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment Golden Jubilee Commemorative International Scholarship, PhD and Masters Research Scholarship, VIED-RMIT PhD Scholarship, Fulbright US Postgraduate Scholarships, Sir Terry Pratchett Memorial Scholarship, and Digital Marketing Scholarship provide the students with limited financial constraints with the initial drive to attempt to pursue overseas higher education. Hence, there are various kinds of opportunities and benefits that are provided to the international students who take the plunge of pursing undergraduate or post graduate education in Australia. Although the number of benefits are considerably overshadowed by the number of challenges or issues that the international students face on a daily basis while pursuing educational degrees in Australia (Mazzarol and Soutar 2012). Lastly, it also needs to be mentioned that the unemployment rate of Australia has also decreased to 5.6% in the last couple of years which is considerably lower than any other developed nations, with a swooping 3% increase in their annual employment rate has also affected the annual increase in the international student influx (Walters 2012).

While discussing the most impact challenges that the international students face while studying in the Australian universities, the first factor that has to be considered in this context in the cultural difference of the international students. It has to be understood that the most of the international students of Australia are from the Asian countries, and hence English language proficiency is the most significant issue in the context of acculturation process that the international students have to go through to adapt to the educational and societal culture of the host country. Most of the international students of Asian origin do not have English as their first language and hence they mostly fail to decipher the Australian accented English. According to Walters (2012), in the most of the cases, the most of academic decline that the international students go through while studying in Australia is due to the English language proficiency issues in both the academic and social contexts. According to the Forbes-Mewett and Nyland (2013), the implicatiosn of the language barrier in this sector also forces the academic staff have to opt for soft marking procedure to pass the international students and hence they are able to somehow obtain a qualification from the universities but yet face extreme professional issues as they begin their career.

Advanced Technological Infrastructure of Australian Universities

Along with that another extremely influential challenge that the international students face in any foreign country is the cultural shock. According the Volet and Ang (2012), it has to be understood that the students who attempt for an overseas higher education, have a lots of restrictions that they have to overcome in order to succeed in this venture. It has been mentioned above, that the most of the international student population of Australia is from the Asian countries and on the other hand the society and living standards of Australia are significantly more influenced by the western cultures and westernized ay of living. According to the Yusoff (2012), the friction between the modern westernized lifestyle and culture with the traditional cultural inclination in the Asian international students often develops a few serious challenges for the students to cope or adapt. The societal and demographical discomfort often interferes with the performance and productivity of student as well.

Authors have opined the financial constraint on the international student while studying in abroad is also considerably higher in case of Australia. It has to be mentioned that the international students have to almost double of the educational expense for the academic courses in the Australia as well. The total average cost of an undergraduate international student to complete an academic year in Australian universities is roughly AU$29,235, where as a domestic undergraduate student pays is roughly AU$0-6,349, hence the huge difference in the tuition fee structure in the Australian education system is a significant challenge for the international students to complete an academic year in the Australian education system, and for the international students with limited financial background a vast majority of the students fail to afford their educational expense and cannot progress in their academic degree.

The difference in the educational system framework in Australian universities also differ exceptionally from the educational system all across the world. According to the Gomes et al. (2014), the difference in the assessment structure and the educational guidelines often is a great shock to the international students and they have to struggle for a considerable amount of time before they begin to adapt to the particular educational structure that the Australian universities follow. Although there are different workshops and different kinds of supportive assistance programs for the purpose of guiding the international students through the process of adapting to the Australian system of learning, there are mostly a lot of gaps left behind that the supportive programs does not address in this context.

Post Study Work Stream Facilities


Lastly, one of the most important challenge that imparts the most influential impact on the academic experience of the international students studying in Australia are the racism and bullying that they have to undergo on campus. According to the authors, close to 37% of the international student population of Australia have been reported to endure some form racial discrimination either in the university campus or in the accommodation that they avail. According to the Jackson (2013), the impact of the bullying and discrimination is extreme on the mental health and wellbeing of the international students, which either propels them to discontinue the academic course they are pursuing or pushes them towards behavioral disorders and depression. Hence, it has to be understood that there are many challenges that are associated with the experience that the international students face due to the disparities in the societal and academic pattern of Australia and hence there is need for strategic reform in the Australian government and educational system that can help these students to overcome the challenges and can facilitate a better educational experience for the international students in Australia.

Despite all the possible challenges that are associated with the educational system of Australia for the international students. There have been many changes that have been facilitated in the student visa access levels that are provided to the student in the past couple of years by the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The first most significant change can be the reduction of the student visa assessment levels and English language test requirements that are associated with the visa application and obtaining procedure. Along with that, the cost for the visa application has also been reduced from 565 to 535 dollars in the past year to help the students along with reduced living cost requirements. The government of Australia has also introduced a post study work visa for the international students so that the students can get the opportunity to financially establish themselves before moving from the country. Along with that there are various support cells and assistive workshops and programs to assist the students through the entire process of acculturation and adaptation to the the Australian style of living and learning (Forbes-Mewett and Nyland 2013).

Conclusion:

On a concluding note, it has to be mentioned that there are a myriad of challenged that an international student faces while attempting to secure a degree of his or her choice from the top ranked universities of Australia, and these challenges overshadows the benefits or attractive opportunities by the educational and professional system of Australia. Although, there are various research gaps that has not taken into consideration in the literature published before and there is need for further research to emphasize on the different challenges and the exact contributing factor leading to the prevalence or predomination of these issues. This research project will attempt to discover all the underlying causes and factors associated with the  challenges and how that can be overcome by suggesting the possible recommendations

Cost of Living in Australia

References:

Altbach, P., 2015. Perspectives on internationalizing higher education. International Higher Education, (27).

Campbell, N., 2012. Promoting intercultural contact on campus: A project to connect and engage international and host students. Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(3), pp.205-227.

Crawford, T. and Candlin, S., 2013. A literature review of the language needs of nursing students who have English as a second/other language and the effectiveness of English language support programmes. Nurse education in practice, 13(3), pp.181-185.

Forbes-Mewett, H. and Nyland, C., 2013. Funding international student support services: tension and power in the university. Higher Education, 65(2), pp.181-192.

Gomes, C., Berry, M., Alzougool, B. and Chang, S., 2014. Home away from home: International students and their identity-based social networks in Australia. Journal of International Students, 4(1), pp.2-15.

Gribble, C. and Blackmore, J., 2012. Re-positioning Australia's international education in global knowledge economies: implications of shifts in skilled migration policies for universities. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 34(4), pp.341-354.

Gribble, C., 2014. Employment, work placements & work integrated learning of international students in Australia. International Education Association of Australia, Research Digest, 2.

Harmon, G., 2015. Australia as an higher education exporter. International Higher Education, (42).

Harrison, G. and Ip, R., 2013. Extending the terrain of inclusive education in the classroom to the field: International students on placement. Social Work Education, 32(2), pp.230-243.

He, F.X., Lopez, V. and Leigh, M.C., 2012. Perceived acculturative stress and sense of coherence in Chinese nursing students in Australia. Nurse Education Today, 32(4), pp.345-350.

Jackson, D., 2013. The contribution of work-integrated learning to undergraduate employability skill outcomes. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 14(2), pp.99-115.

Mayoh, J. and Onwuegbuzie, A.J., 2015. Toward a conceptualization of mixed methods phenomenological research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 9(1), pp.91-107.

Mazzarol, T. and Soutar, G.N., 2012. Revisiting the global market for higher education. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 24(5), pp.717-737.

Ng, S.W., 2012. Rethinking the mission of internationalization of higher education in the Asia-Pacific region. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 42(3), pp.439-459.

Obeng-Odoom, F., 2012. Far away from home: the housing question and international students in Australia. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 34(2), pp.201-216.

Parker, L.D., 2012. From privatised to hybrid corporatised higher education: A global financial management discourse. Financial Accountability & Management, 28(3), pp.247-268.

Roberts, M., Russell, L.B., Paltiel, A.D., Chambers, M., McEwan, P. and Krahn, M., 2012. Conceptualizing a model: A report of the ISPOR-SMDM modeling good research practices task force–2. Medical Decision Making, 32(5), pp.678-689.

Taylor, S. and Sidhu, R.K., 2012. Supporting refugee students in schools: what constitutes inclusive education?. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16(1), pp.39-56.

Volet, S.E. and Ang, G., 2012. Culturally mixed groups on international campuses: An opportunity for inter-cultural learning. Higher education research & development, 31(1), pp.21-37.

Walters, C., 2012. International students--returning their investment Australia's reform program for international education. The landscape for policy makers and practitioners in tertiary education, pp.71-82.

Wenhua, H. and Zhe, Z., 2013. International Students'adjustment Problems At University: A Critical Literature Review. Academic Research International, 4(2), p.400.

Yusoff, Y.M., 2012. Self-efficacy, perceived social support, and psychological adjustment in international undergraduate students in a public higher education institution in Malaysia. Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(4), pp.353-371.                           

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