Overseas students in Australia

Many from South Asia and South East Asia flock to Australian Universities with an intention to obtain an Australian qualification. Some do it for gaining an advanced standing while others do it to polish up their prior degrees in engineering, computer applications, social sciences, social work, human services, management, nursing, bio technology or pure sciences.

We need them in Australia as much as they need us. Studies have shown that International students will experience a transition period when beginning their study in Australia. It has been observed that there are various challenges facing them and institutional support is an important factor in successful transition to study and living in a new country. It is the host educational institution that has not only the responsibility but also the incentive to provide effective supports for this cohort.

More recently the ABC four corners maintained that the Australian Universities are making billions out of foreign students.

I taught and tutored at five Universities in Australia and observed that we haven’t served a decisively decent deal to the overseas students. Institutions need to understand that International students may present with different help seeking behaviors due to cultural differences and personal beliefs. If services are to meet the international student’s needs then further investigation is required as to how institutions can respond to develop support services.

One of the main issues that can impact many areas of a student’s daily life and contribute to poor transitioning is mental health problems.  It has been identified that there is an increase in mental health problems for young people in Australia with a greater prevalence in students at university and in particular international students

I have observed that despite international students reporting having issues with transitioning to studying in Australia many do not utilise the support systems that are currently available in Australian universities Research tells us that many students especially those from Asian cultures are less inclined to seek help and will use maladaptive coping strategies. – Repression, avoidance, or other passive coping strategies.

We are aware that students require prerequisite skills, support structures, role models and cultural capital in order to succeed when studying. many of these students form Asia are granted admission without academic skills resources. Besides we must equally understand that they have to navigate new life style and living skills in a new country. This lack of skills and resources leaves with them a poorer experience when transitioning to academic study in a new country, what follows is just a few of the main examples:

  • Leaving home and loss of social support network
  • Adjusting to culture of host country
  • Language barriers
  • Racial discrimination
  • Accommodation difficulties
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • Cultural misunderstanding
  • Financial difficulties
  • High expectations to succeed – parental or financial outlay

At Impetus Global we have launched a new service to augment the existing services within Australian Universities. Our diversity consultants will work with teaching staff, and students services and students in establishing a service that will develop a win win situation.

Call or write to me for a consultation meeting with your senior management staff in international division and people that work in marketing , student services as a first opportunity for a diagnostic meeting to hear your narratives and your genuine needs to remedy our situation.

Dr Venkat Pulla

About Dr. Venkat Pulla
Dr Venkat Pulla is an Indian born Australian Human Services Mgt Consultant and motivational speaker. He is the Principal of Impetus Global Consulting and founder of Brisbane Institute of Strengths-based practice that offers – training in Strengths approach in human services. and offers grounded theory Master Classes globally. Impetus Global is currently addressing two service programmes for International Students coming into Australian Universities. Venkat has been utilising Appreciative Inquiry in Middle and Senior Management Training in Strategic Leadership, and has undertaken a six-week OvationNet AI Workshop under the workshop leadership with David Cooperrider, in the Spring of 2011. Venkat was Head of the School of Social Work, Northern Territory University, and taught At Australian Catholic University, Charles Sturt & at Sunshine Coast and tutored at Griffith. He is a Tata Dorabji Merit scholar from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (India). Research interests: Human coping & resilience, green social work. He has co-edited volumes on Strengths-based practice, 2012; Perspectives on coping and resilience , 2013; Theories, experiences, and challenges in community work , 2014; Advancing social work in mental health through strengths-based practice, 2014; Some aspects of community empowerment and resilience, 2015; and the Lhotsampa People of Bhutan-Resilience and Survival, 2016 and is editing 'Discrimination, Challenge and Response', 2019, (Palgrave- Macmillan.) As an academic, he makes significant contributions to Social Work education to SAARC countries. He has published with Sage, Routledge, Macmillan, Palgrave, and Wilfred Laurier Press- Canada; Primrose Hall- UK and Australia; Fernwood, California and others in Asia. He is a recipient of NAPSWI – India Lifetime achievement award 2015, and Karma veer Puraskar,-Global Indian Social Worker Award-2008. Scopus Author ID: 56007950700

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