International exchange is a opportunity that I dream about on a daily basis, probably along with many other university students. The ability to visit a country, understand it’s cultural and gain amazing friends and memories is a prospect that gets me extremely excited.
Although, international students also help us! They are able to represent their country and culture, bring international strengths to the workforce, allow us to understand global issues and have a greater understanding of many cultural differences.
Sounds great, right? Well it is said that, ‘International education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be’. (Marginson, 2012)
Levi Bernhardt discuss some of the struggles you can encounter through student exchange:
Similarly or due to the above, international students tend to stay together; segregation. This further intensifies their differences in the eyes of the hosting citizens and limits their adjustment to the academic, social and cultural environment (Kel and Vogl, 2006). This displays a gap in international students social and personal communication relationships with local Australian students, further limiting their experiences in Australia.
International education needs to be turned into a positive cultural process by which both the locals and international students can learn about and experience new things. By shifting our focus towards acceptance of diversity, we can see and experience the value in international students and the importance of international education.
Marginson, S. (2012) ‘Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’International education as self-formation
Kel, P., Vogl, G. (2006) ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’, Everyday Multiculturalism Conference Proceedings, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University 28-29.