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What is the big issue for international students?

By XiaoLi PEI
Created 21/09/2008 - 14:12

This contribution has been submitted to Webdiary by a student in the Online Journalism unit for the Masters in Media Practice and Masters in Publishing courses at The University of Sydney as part of the unit's assessment. The topics covered in the pieces awaiting publication are interesting – and diverse. We hope that Webdiarists will enjoy reading them, as well as giving these aspiring journalists plenty of constructive commentary.


What is the big issue for international students?
by Xiaoli Pei

As more and more international student are coming to Australia, education has become a big export industry. However, some social issues concerned with overseas students are becoming stubborn.

According to a report in The Australian on August 28, 2008 [1], 299 international students were sent to detention centers in Sydney and Melbourne from 2006 to 2008 due to student visa problems.

According to the article, the reasons for the cancellation of their visa were varied. Some held expired visas, but some visas were canceled because of issues with their study such as poor attendance rates and failing their courses.

Why do the international students have the attendance breach issues? In the article, senior psychology lecturer Christopher Lennings of the University of Sydney discusses the loneliness suffered by international students and the isolation they feel because of the language barrier and culture shock.

As I am an international student, I can understand this situation. Although I have some English skill, when I came here, I still felt stress and it has already influenced my study. I became very sad and worried about whether I could finish these subjects successfully. When I talk to international students, most of them have the same situation. Qun Gao, international student of Arts Faculty of the University of Sydney, said although her English skill already satisfied the requirement of her major and she studied at the language school in Sydney for a couple of months before she began to university, she still found it difficult to keep up with her classmates. This situation makes her very sad and influences her study.

Has it become a big issue for international students? Lidia Nemitschenko, head of International Student Support Unit (ISSU) of the University of Sydney, said most of the international students suffer because of the language barrier and culture shock. Some will come to the ISSU find support on their own initiative. However, some use negative ways to deal with this situation. Failing subjects, they did not come to the lectures and did not answer any contact even their family for a long time.

The language barrier and culture shock has become the big issue for international students but it is a natural phenomenon. As international students, we should deal with this situation rather than let it influence our study. We should find the support through the means available such as ISSU, international office of the university and so on. At the same time, we should improve our English skills and take the initiative in making the acquaintance of local people to reduce the culture gap.

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