International Student Barometer (ISB)

About the ISB

The ISB is the world's largest student survey providing benchmarks for international student satisfaction. All levels and years of study are covered, from first year undergraduates to final year PhD students.

The ISB provides La Trobe University with an understanding of the international student experience. Through the confidential information gathered, we are able to evaluate what we are doing well as a university and in what areas we need to improve.

The 2018 ISB results

In 2018, 2,236 international students completed the survey equating to 28% of our onshore international student population. This is La Trobe’s highest participation rate (compared with 1,636 in 2017). Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide us with feedback. We very much appreciate it.

We were particularly pleased to see a boost in satisfaction around the arrival experience. International students have told us in previous surveys and through other feedback mechanisms that the processing on arrival took too long and was confusing. This feedback formed the basis of extensive work to streamline and improve the experience. We are pleased to see this reflected in this year’s ISB.

Compared to other Australian universities, our international students identified a number of key areas as having greater or equal satisfaction levels with Australian or worldwide universities. There were several elements within each area key area of student satisfaction at La Trobe which students identified as very satisfactory (between 85-90% satisfaction rate). These included:

Key area

Element with very high student satisfaction

Arrival

  • Formal welcome
  • Orientation
  • Making friends
  • Residential Services

Learning

  • Expert lecturer
  • Language support
  • Managing research
  • Laboratories
  • Learning spaces
  • Technology

Living

  • Accommodation
  • Campus environment
  • Safety
  • Environmentally friendly campus
  • Transport links

Support

  • Disability support
  • Graduate Research School
  • Faith Provision
  • International Office
  • La Trobe Student Union

La Trobe University continues to make improvements on areas that students have identified as high importance or needing improvements.

Key area

Steps La Trobe University has taken/will be taking to improve this area

Classroom Diversity

Many international students feel that their classroom composition could be more diverse. This is most likely due to the fact that a high proportion of international students choose similar courses in business and IT meaning those lectures and classes have a higher proportion of international students than other disciplines. Discussions are underway with La Trobe Teaching and Learning to see how this can be addressed.

Careers & Employability

International students consistently tell us they want advice from their academics around career outcomes related to their field of study. With the introduction of the Career Ready program we are already seeing some excellent results in student’s preparedness for the workforce. More work is underway to refine and strengthen this approach.

Connection with Domestic Students & Australian Community

The survey highlighted that many international students are asking for more opportunities to connect with Australian students and the broader Australian community. In Semester 2 2018 the international Student Services team introduced a conversation café at Orientation between Australian students and new international students. A new partnership agreement was signed with Rotary International to provide weekends away for international students with Australian families across Victoria and a pilot was held in September. The International Student Leadership Committee was established that comprises 10 international and 2 Australian students, to provide advice and feedback on ways to strengthen engagement. We welcome ideas at any time on how we could do more of this at La Trobe.

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