Jun 1st 2018

Problems Faced By International Students in Australia

The majority of the students throughout the world believe it is a privilege to get selected at an Australian university. The quality of education here is known as one of the best in the world and international students agree that it can significantly boost the employment prospects. As a result, the number of foreign students moving to Australia for further studies has been consistently rising.

While there is no denying that the education quality is top-notch in Australia, the expectations of the students, including the ones who receive Australian scholarships for international students, don't always match with the reality when they arrive here. There are a number of difficulties which the foreign students face when they come to Australia for their studies.

Some of the most severe ones are as follows:

1. Language

While English is the first language in Australia, not all the students moving from different parts of the world speak fluent English. While the international students in Australia are required to pass a basic English test to get the visa, the lexical differences, speech style, and the accent are not easy to understand for a lot of students. This can be troublesome as the notes, tutorials and lectures that they receive are entirely in English.

A lot of the pupils who receive Australian scholarships for international students complain about the professors at their universities using abbreviations, idioms, or generally speak too fast for them to understand. Apart from studies, they also need to talk in Australian English every time they are dealing with a local. Using English all the time can be a huge problem at least in the initial days for a lot of foreign students.

2. Socio-Cultural Differences

It is absolutely normal for international students in Australia to feel completely isolated when exposed to a new culture. While Australia is located in the eastern hemisphere, the culture here is heavily inspired by the western countries. While students from UK or USA might not feel any difference, it can be a major cultural shock for students from African countries, Asia, or Europe.

This cultural shock can bein the form of an emotional and physical discomfort which arises when someone shifts to a place that is entirely different from where they live. Homesickness, reduced abilities, disturbed sleep pattern, and feeling of loneliness are some of the common symptoms. On top of it, a lot of times students who get Australian scholarships for international students don't even have proper accommodation for their stay which further worsens their condition.

3. Academic Expectations

The Australian education system significantly varies from most other countries. While the uniqueness of the system does encourage critical thinking, autonomous learning, confident communication, and abilities to solve problems, as an international student it is often difficult to not get confused from this learning system.

Moreover, the international students in Australia are often instructed to work in specified groups or work individually for completing assignments and tasks. They are required to evaluate situations critically and provide an efficient solution. A large number of students are unable to coordinate properly and this deteriorates their academic performance.

4. Finances

Even with scholarships for international students, one has to pay at least some money for their education in Australia. Apart from the studies, there are also living expenses which the students are required to take care of and most of the students cannot just rely on their parents for the expenses. While some universities do help students with their finances, most of the students look for student loans along with holiday or part-time job.

Australia is an expensive country and the cost of living, especially in places like Sydney can be higher. As per the Australian Immigration Department, an average foreign student in Australia needs at least $18,000 AUD to manage his/her expenses for a year, excluding the tuition fee. Moreover, even the students looking for part-time jobs generally find it very difficult to get a decent job.

5. Individual Problems

These are the problems which most students face irrespective of whether or not they are international students in Australia. The majority of the students do feel homesick, especially when they have never really lived away from their native place and family. They end up spending a lot of time thinking about their home and family.

Moreover, a large number of students also fall ill when they are exposed to the Australian climate. As Australia is in the southern hemisphere, the seasonal changes here are exactly opposite of what people find in the northern hemisphere. This can be a major problem for a lot of foreign students.

6. Switching to a Different Course

Another problem for a lot of international students in Australia is the challenges involved in switching to a different course. As per the Immigration Department, the foreign students are required to give a valid reason in writing to switch to a different course. Even the university needs to submit a letter to outline why a student wants to switch to a different course.

Apart from this, it is not compulsory for a university to refund the unused part of the tuition fee to the student when they move to a different course. The foreign students are required to work with their university and request the same from the Immigration Department. Overall, the process can be daunting and time-consuming and there is no easy fix for it. Owing to the challenges, even students with scholarships for international students who want to move to a different course continue with the same course.

The education in Australia is one of the very best in the world and this is the reason for the consistent increase in the number of international students opting for Australian colleges. But just like any other international location, Australia also has its difficulties which a lot of students find very challenging especially when they are new to the country.

However, it is also important to know that no matter what their problem is, there are adequate facilities to find help as well. Many of the colleges have special programs for international student to help them cope with these problems. When the problems are properly addressed, it then becomes very easy for the students to overcome them.

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