Mind of an international student

Asking people around you that have experienced the life of studying overseas. I would like to argue the fact that international students gain such experience in living overseas and the  learning skills often comes with a price.

I am studying in a young, vibrant and modern country of Australia for nearly two years. Yet, the sense of belonging is still invisible. The influence of cultural differences and communication barriers are relevant to this particular issue however I would like to focus more on the political side and the equality issue.

Australia always engage with the world with such optimism, welcoming the asylum seeker and encourage multiculturalism. It is an undeniable fact that the locals that were born in Australia receive a better treatment from the government in terms of education and transport. Comparing to international students, certainly there are more benefits when it comes to been labelled as “local”. The distinctive mark between the two is gradually circling around me as I am a student too.

Students’ obligation is to do well in their education. People who are studying overseas spend a humongous amount of expenses from accommodation, transport, food, clothes, books to basic necessities. The money spent is just a total rip-off. We international students  do not receive any funding from the government as we are named as “the outsiders”. Even receiving scholarships from the university, it is still a heart pain to calculate the money we have spent throughout the years of studying. One of my local friend was telling me that she did not actually pay for anything for her education apart from the textbooks. The government sponsor local students and want them to pay back during working.

“It’s a resolute spirit that goes right through to our approach to teaching and learning – to inspire confidence, create real-world skills, and encourage independent thinking, teamwork and leadership”. (Australia Education: A future Unlimited)

Derive the quote above from the section of “Why study in Australia?” Very contradicting to my previous thoughts. I think definitely the education I have received here is much better compared to the education system back in my home town. Something worth mentioning is the confidence skill I gained, teamwork spirit and critical thinking development.

It is inevitable that we paid much more on education compared to the local students. In terms of transport system, we do not get any concession tickets. That makes us pay the amount of an adult ticket unless international students take the risk. There is always a two sided story. Someone said not to take the risk as you will get fined $200. The others think it is alright as there is always plenty of excuses to give when it comes to handle this type of situation. I was skeptical and constantly having my mind wonder what is the purpose of such action.

As economy contributors, we have more responsibilities. In that sense, I meant that some international students are quite hardworking as they understand that their parents have put so much investment on the education and of course paying the government for the facility. They have to put in extra effort to stay in Australia and get a job. Besides studying, working is included in the schedule as well in a totally different environment. I am not stating that local students are not hardworking but even if they fail in particular course, there won’t be much to be wasted except time. But, if international students have to face failure; time and money will be a total ravage.

It is definitely worthless if you spend more on education than what you earn in the future. However, I know this is not the case for everyone. We as students pay for the knowledge and skills that will be practical in the future. Generally, it is not a sin to treat us international students in a such a way as I understand the conflict that lies within it especially on citizenship. But, our identities are the same as students and we too hope to receive partial of the privileges. Stereotype falls on us that international students are just decreasing the job opportunities for the locals and creating more competition among students. In other ways, we are being use to encourage local students to be competitive in particular areas and win the career battle.

The indifference between the identity of local students and international students will never be demolish. Not only that, the cultural difference and language deviation makes the two not able to come together and becoming one identity as “students”. Particularly, Asian international students face more inequality and distinguishable discrimination because of the skin colour and communication dissimilarity. I have learnt from intercultural communication that people from different countries behave, communicate and perceive the world distinctively. Therefore, going to overseas for study is not just to gain a broader and a better quality of education but allows us as international students to face culture shock, experiencing the indifference between one another, practice a new lifestyle in a new environment and of course meeting new people of different backgrounds.

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