At Universities around Australia all students receive free lessons in cultural studies, with thousands of international students on campuses from hundreds of different countries. The image of Australia’s beaches and warm weather projected around the world could be what attracts many students – I bet the one’s who end up studying in Canberra feel ripped off!
Even with Australian or domestic students, there is a lot of cultural diversity because we are part of a very culturally diverse community. Many domestic students are from diverse backgrounds with either them or their parents being born overseas. When you look at it that way, probably half of university students are from a different cultural background than the stereotypical white Australian “norm”.
Our Universities are most popular in the Asian Pacific countries such as, Malaysia, Singapore and China, as well as the Indian subcontinent including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is also home to many students from Africa, Europe, Canada, the USA and Mexico.
However, it is not only the international students who benefit from coming here, as Australian students are exposed to a diverse range of cultures. We can learn from people who come from different areas and have undertaken some of their secondary studies in different environments and learned in different ways. We all can benefit from that.
Australian students benefit by getting to know people from all around the world, getting to know their language, culture, and have the opportunity to go and visit their home country. To understand that there are people that live differently, speak differently and think of the world in a different context. We’re a lucky society in many respects as some of our international students come from much more difficult circumstances. Overall, it helps us gain an international understanding.