According to an Australian government website named “future unlimited”, there are ten reasons as to why international students should study in Australian university institutions. These reasons include statistics and other facts concerning global rankings and financial figures aimed at enticing students from all around the globe to study in Australia. However, in all this abundance of information there is no mention of the social stigma of racial discrimination unearthed by the ethnocentric and parochial “assumed” arrogance of the everyday Australian.
It is clear that when students travel overseas to study that they not only feel the desire to branch their knowledge of both their degree and the world, but to create friendships with “local” students. This intent may be clouded with several barriers including students that lack proficiency in the English language, unfamiliarity with the social norms and conventions of Australian life as well as Australians appearing distant and ambivalent at times due to their “busy lifestyles”. It is held strongly in my credence that Australia is a multicultural, multiracial and multi-religious community. In any social environment, there are always going to be a minority that cause a breakdown of the once flourishing and unadulterated version of Australian society that has now been tainted with broadcasts of racial taunts and violent attacks on international students.
I am focusing this particular blog post upon my own conviction that for the most part, Australians are honest, friendly and committed citizens and there are a number of factors that may inextricably influence any “negative” events or feelings held by international students in Australia. There is no doubt that racism and discrimination is manifested in Australian culture, but as previously mentioned, the few major racial attacks on those from another country, has imprinted the purity and reputation of Australian living. A recent example of this is the 2009/10 violent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on this in July of 2012 and states “The crisis damaged Australia’s standing in India, strained relations between Delhi and Canberra and plunged Australia’s education system into turmoil”. This publication tarnished Australia’s reputation overseas and though it was a terrible event to occur, I wish to repeat myself in saying Australia is a hospitable and genuinely open country (focusing on university life) and I say this through interactions I have witnessed between an Australian student and international student as well as second hand accounts of these interactions and interactions of my own.
Australia is a place with a very conjoint way of life making it very hard to point to one particular Australian ‘way of life’ that everyone should ‘fit’ into. It shouldn’t matter whether people are born in Australia or are studying or emigrating to Australia from another country, everyone has the right to be different so long as they obey the laws of the country they are in.