The value of international students to cultural diversity in regional Australia

Brown, Delroy (2012) The value of international students to cultural diversity in regional Australia. In: 2012 Australian International Education Conference: International Education in the Asian Century (AIEC 2012), 2-5 Oct 2012, Melbourne, Australia.

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This paper argues that the presence of international students with the potential to promote cultural diversity and ensure sustainability in market share to universities is not being valued and explored in regional Australia. While some recognition is given to the economic benefits of the international student phenomenon to Australia, there is a reluctance to promote community engagement, which will not only enhance cultural diversity in regional Australia, but will also satisfy the personal and professional goals of visiting students, and ensure sustainability in market share for regional universities. The paper discusses community engagement as a mechanism that creates value to enhance cultural diversity with direct and indirect benefits for visiting students, local communities and universities as key stakeholders.

Under the Colombo Plan which granted scholarships as aid to developing nations between 1950 and 1985, overseas students were valued for their contribution to promoting cultural diversity and the development of lasting friendships with local Australians (Cameron 2010; Lane 2009). By contrast today, many international students express dissatisfaction with the lack of contact they currently experience with locals (Marginson 2012b), and they perceive themselves as valued only for their money (Trounson 2012a). The over commercialisation of the international education sector plus its recent rapid growth and succeeding decline in student traffic and revenue from 2006 to 2011, have prompted calls for a new paradigm to meet the Asian Century (Marginson 2012a) and a recognition of 'the huge significance of the flow of young people, knowledge, experience and values' (Zegeras, 2012, p.23). As decline in enrolments lingers, the search for a new model remains a necessity (Hare 2012).

Adding to the sector’s woes, Australia’s export model faces a threatening storm (Gallagher and Garrett 2012b) from its global competitors requiring reliance on other motivations apart from money (IEAC 2012). These realities place more fiscal pressures on regional institutions to make up their funding deficits than their urban counterparts (Ross 2012), as well as to sustain their share of the market (Lawley, Matthews and Fleischman 2009). This paper takes the premise that regional universities are well placed to explore the potential to promote cultural diversity through innovation, including community engagement to afford them a competitive advantage and to sustain their share of the market.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2012 07:05
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2017 04:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: international students; cultural diversity; regional Australia
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390401 Comparative and cross-cultural education

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