Before thoroughly looking into this week’s topic of international education, I always thought that it would be such an enriching and rewarding experience to go on exchange to a different country, and to learn and thrive in a new culture, and to discover a new way of life. But as it turns out, there can be some negative points to what seems such a riveting experience.
Some examples of international education:
- Exchange students
- Housing an international student
- International teachers
All of these and more, aiming to improve the education system and those who seek further education and life changing experiences. What could possibly be wrong with such an experience?
“Australia is the third most popular destination for international students”. This export is Australia’s fourth largest, producing a sum of $15 billion in the international student industry. But recent attacks in 2009, on Indian international students in Australia are tarnishing our reputation as a desirable location for exchange. This industry allows funds for education institutions to build buildings, expand research and support staff. These attacks are nothing but cruel and drive down this industry which supports so much.
As it turns out, for some international students who venture to another foreign country with a completely different culture life can be lonely. The residents of that country can treat international students unfairly, and people can be completely oblivious to the fact that they are doing so because of unseen culture barriers. Some individuals can be ethnocentric or parochial without even realizing.
Ethnocentric or parochial attitudes combined with an unfamiliar way of life/culture can cause culture shock. Culture shock can be defined as “disorientation experienced when suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture or way of life”.
The five stages of culture shock are:
- Honeymoon stage (when you are excited because you have just arrived)
- Distress stage (no more honeymoon, things are starting to get unfamiliar as you isolate yourself)
- Re-integration stage (you start to idealize your culture of origin, dislike the new one that you have now started to accept, and feel lonely)
- Autonomy stage (everything is getting better as you start to accept the culture)
- Independence stage (the culture is accepted and you feel yourself again)
When living in a place, which is so far from your every day life, it can be understandable that it takes some time to adjust and accept different ways in which people live. When adjusting even the littlest things could be irritating, some things that just wouldn’t or would be done in your origin culture could spark anger. But past culture shock and adjustment, it can be so exciting and riveting to experience a new culture, foods, fashion, language, landscapes, and social values. It can be an experience, which provides skills and memories for life.
Group Of Eight Australia, 2014, International students in higher education and their role in the Australian economy, Available From: < https://go8.edu.au/sites/default/files/docs/publications/international_students_in_higher_education_and_their_role_in_the_australian_economy.pdf >
Whinnett and Tawqeer, 2014, Indian student numbers plunge after fresh attack, Available From: < http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/indian-student-numbers-plunge-after-fresh-attack/story-fni0fee2-1226795039267 >
Schmidt, n.d, What is culture shock?, Available From: < http://moving.about.com/od/internationalmoves/a/culture_shock.htm >
Chinnammai, 2005, EFFECTS OF GLOBALISATION ON EDUCATION AND CULTURE, Available From: < http://guidedresearchwriting.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/53952209/ImactofGlobalization_EdandCulture.pdf >