Being a self-absorbed domestic student, I never gave much thought to the number of factors that affect an international students experience when living in Australia and attending University. In order to achieve success and maintain a positive wellbeing, international students face the battle of not only academic, but also social and cultural adjustments (Kell P & Vogl G, 2007). These challenges are often magnified by the students knowledge of English, or otherwise lack of, and often their inability to keep up with Australians fast speech, accents and colloquialisms (Kell P & Vogl G, 2007).
After engaging with this topic, I have been more aware of international students and how they interact both with students and tutors/lecturers, and in one of my classes I recalled a conversation between a tutor and two Chinese students. My tutor had posed a question and asked each student to respond but when it came to the two Chinese students to answer, only one, very sheepishly gave a response. The other student sat in silence, whilst my tutor, becoming frustrated, prodded her for an answer. The situation escalated further before the tutor ‘gave up’ and moved on.
At the time of the incident I was sympathetic for the International students but I couldn’t understand why they didn’t just speak up to begin with. To me, it was something that is so simple and natural that I suppose I expected it to be the same for them. In retrospect, I now understand the challenges such as lack of understanding and confident that the students were struggling to cope with.
Kell, P and Vogl, G (2007) ‘ International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’ Everyday Multiculturalism Conference Proceedings, Macquarie University, 28-29 September 2006.