Where is the line drawn for International Students?

There is a concept, a stage of life if you will, that we can all identify with; the idea of the International student and global education. According to a recent YouTube video by students in the UK, the identity of an international student encompasses far more than simply being educated in a foreign culture. Instead, with growing multicultural societies, the concept of global citizenship, an expansion of international borders and acceptance, there will be in most, an innate connection with a global ‘mindedness’. In a way, we are all international students whether by actually studying abroad, simply being connected to someone who is or by being involved in this multi-cultural environment that is worldwide higher education. It is for that reason that exploring international student life in Australia is important as the effects from this $5 Billion Industry have an expansive spread.

Figure 1: Visas lodged for higher education students by country of origin

In 2010, 20% of the University of Sydney’s 47,000 students were international with 77% of those from Asia. According to ABC TV there are over 63,000 Indian Students studying in Australia and in 2007/08, India overtook China as the country with the most higher education visa holders in Australia. However, from 2007-08 to 2011-12 the number of visas dropped by 71%.  This was a very real and very negative response to a number of brutal and unwarranted attacks on Indian students across Australian cities. In early 2012 report by Sydney Morning Herald found these attacks had effected more than just international relations with India. From 2009, the number of Indian students traveling to Australia dropped by nearly 100,000, this then on-flowed to related industries, loosing billions of dollars and hundreds their jobs.

”I don’t think it’s ever quite sunk in for people back here in Australia how much this issue caught the public imagination.” States John McCarthy, who was Australia’s high commissioner in New Delhi when the crisis flared.

Srinivas Vedantam an Indian student and victim of an attack stated, “We feel we are not safe in this country. They are taking so many fees and taxes from international students, but they are not protecting us.” This is a fair opinion as it has only been in the last 18 months that the International student industry has been perceived as a long term investment rather than a cash cow for the Australian education system. It seems that since these attacks along with the bad press and major decrease in profits that followed that the government is changing their ways.

In order for a new identity to be created for the Australian education environment, it is necessary for the Australian government, local students and international students alike to move forward and create a more supportive and stable environmnt. It is through videos like the one below, that a new identity for Indian students in particular can be shaped.

For more stories from International Students studying in Australia visit www.studyinaustralia.gov.au.



Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, “Far away from home: The housing question and international students in Australia“, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 201-216.

ACER 2014, Student visa numbers signal a return to growth, Research Developments, Accessed 7th of October 2014, http://rd.acer.edu.au/article/student-visa-numbers-signal-a-return-to-growth

Australian Education Network 2014, Student Numbers at Australian Universities, Accessed 7th of October 2014, http://www.australianuniversities.com.au/directory/student-numbers/


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