What international students really think about Australian education (Issue 18, 2012)

International students

International studentsA new report released by the Australian Government in June has shown that international students are very satisfied with their Australian study experience, but would prefer more interaction with Australian students and the broader Australian community.

The report, Student voices: Enhancing the experience of international students in Australia, was based on national benchmarking surveys of international students conducted by Australian Education International (AEI). Between 2008 and 2011, more than 400,000 international students a year have studied in Australia on student visas, with most choosing Australia because of its reputation as a safe, high-quality education destination.

For most international higher education and vocational education and training (VET) students, studying in Australia presents an opportunity to experience a new culture or lifestyle, while allowing them to improve their chances of employment after graduation through gaining an internationally recognised, high-quality qualification. Most of the students surveyed said they would recommend studying in Australia to their friends and family.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Pre departure information is highly valued by new students.
  • Large proportions of students move through education pathways and there are opportunities for stronger collaboration between pathway providers.
  • The initial experiences of international students are extremely important, laying the foundation for their success in Australia. 
  • Some students are unaware of support services available to them and would use them if they were aware of them. Institutions are exploring new ways to promote their support services. 
  • Institutions have opportunities to use multiple media of communication to transmit important information about available support services, recognising that international students represent a diverse group with different communication styles. 
  • In promoting activities, it is important to encourage both international and domestic student participation. 
  • Students want work experience and volunteering opportunities – not only for practical experience, but also for social interaction.

‘Education institutions have programs and processes in place to make the experience of international students studying in Australia a successful and enjoyable one,’ the report concludes.

‘There is also recognition that international students are a diverse group of individuals, from different backgrounds and with different needs.’

For more information on La Trobe University’s International Student Services and how we are trying to address the matters raised in these findings, visit latrobe.edu.au/international/life