Why international students love studying abroad

With more 600,000 international students studying in Australia as of November 2017 and further growth expected in the future, we ask: why do students love studying abroad?

Former international student Arvind from Singapore argued one reason students love studying abroad is that simply possessing an overseas degree was enough to put them ahead of those studying the local equivalent back home.

“I think the exposure the international education gives you, will benefit you regardless where you go,” Arvind expressed. “I know a lot of countries they look at overseas degrees more favorably towards their local degrees. And that is one of the biggest benefits that international education.”

As an educator at Trinity College, the University of Melbourne-owned foundation studies school for international students, drama teacher Rosemary agreed with Arvind and expanded with her own observations.

“It is 21st century skills that employers want for graduates. I think international students have advantages over local students because they have a diffidence in experience which can let them learn those skills,” she said.

Most undoubtedly agree that the quality of education promised by institutions in Australia has a large influence on the number of students coming. But personal development can also be considered another reason why students enjoy the challenge of being an overseas student.

“I think the most exciting thing is just meeting new people who are completely different,” Arvind said.

For him, the challenge of meeting new people and learning from them is one that appeals directly to him. “It’s very funny cause I think meeting new people can be a challenge as well. Cause sometimes you may say something inappropriate to them, but to you it doesn’t mean anything. So there’s a fine line you have to make sure you don’t cross.”

Rebecca Hodge, Administrator at Trinity College, says it is brave of students to make that leap in the first place and that once they do come here, there’s so much more for them to learn outside of their textbooks.

“It is a great opportunity to learn and live independently, to experience another culture, but also share their culture in this country as well, which I think is also beneficial for Australians too. To get to know people from other cultures and welcome them,” Rebecca said.

Arvind elaborates that what he learnt most from being an international student was “to understand what other people think”.

“When you’re stuck in one education system, you sort of program to think in one way. But when you meet other people you learn so much about their culture, you learn why they behave the way they behave, why they act the way they act. You will really understand the differences. I think that’s definitely the biggest learning point from international education that you can get that but you won’t be able to get education back home”.

Indeed being an international student truly means that – being international. And to be internationalised as a person can mean meeting new people of different backgrounds and having new and exciting experiences all at once. It’s what helps young people gain a better perspective on how the world works and to that end, Rosemary feels what she does as an educator for international students is special.

“A lot of students are going to become leaders in their own country in various fields. And that is really always important to me that they have really good understanding,” Rosemary said.

“International students’ experience in coming to a foreign country, managing and studying everything is so much better than staying in your own country, staying in all over your comfort zone,” she concluded.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via meld@meldmagazine.com.au.

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