Building local connections

In September Catherine Gomes wrote in The Conversation about the problems international students have with making Australian friends in Australia, and the unhappiness that this causes. She offers economic justifications to underline why our educational institutions should consider this a problem, and then some potential ways to improve the situation. Here are some excerpts from the article.

“International education brought in $16.3 billion in 2010-11, and the students contribute to the Australian economy in secondary industries such as real estate and tourism. This is not an industry we want to lose, both for economic reasons and because international students provide social benefits, giving Australians valuable opportunities to meet, mix and mingle with nationalities, cultures and ethnicities different or even similar to their own.”


Universities need to create inclusive orientation programs that foster interaction between local and international students. One way to do this would be to actively include interstate and country students in the international student orientation program. International students would thus meet Australians who are in some ways just as alien as they are. This would also offer Australian students new to the state or the area a guided introduction while making some new international friend