Coming Ready or Not: Chinese Students in Australia, Their Motivations, Language Proficiency and Impact on Australia's Tertiary Environment

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Gardner, Rod

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Around one in five of Australia’s tertiary students comes from overseas, with the largest proportion from the People’s Republic of China. Despite needing the revenue from international students to fund domestic tertiary places, there is continuing disquiet over the language preparedness of overseas students, the willingness of universities to allow them to bypass language entry standards, and the subsequent impact on the academics responsible for teaching them. To gauge the experience of typical Chinese students at Australian universities, this study followed a group of five for almost nine years, from when they enrolled in a foundation program in northern China to the present, to establish their motivations for wanting an Australian education, whether their language was sufficient to enable them to participate fully, and whether they were able to integrate into the academic and broader communities. The research had a secondary focus; to examine the impact of large cohorts of international students on Australia’s tertiary environment, and whether international education can be better delivered to achieve a more rewarding experience for all participants. The study began in 2005 with classroom reports and observations of the students during their foundation year, followed by annual interviews and personal contact after their arrival in Australia. To address the secondary focus of the study, data were collected from the Academic Language and Learning (ALL) advisers who assist tertiary students with language development, from the discipline academics who teach them, and from pro-vice chancellors (international) who are responsible within universities for the international education policy framework.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Shool of Education and Professional Studies

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International students, Australia

Chinese students, Australia

Student experience, Australia

ESL students experience, Australia

People's Republic of China students, Australia

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