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Adjustment of International Students Social Relationships in Australia

Abstract

This report observes the social relationship experiences of QUT international students in Australia, and identifies several factors that negatively affect the ability of international students to form meaningful social relationships while in Australia. Both primary and secondary sources were used in the production of this report. The primary information was collected through the use of a ten-question survey delivered to a targeted sample of twenty QUT international students, while secondary information was collected from library holdings and other credible resources. The results provide a valuable overview of participants’ experiences of social relationship adjustments in Australia. Some recommendations for improving international students’ social relationships, such as providing a friendly social environment, encouraging more contact between Australian students and international students, and some social activities, are discussed in the report.

Adjustment of International Students Social Relationships in Australia

Table of content

Abstract

Table of content

List of figures

1 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background
  • 1.2 Objectives
  • 1.3 Method
  • 1.4 Scope

2 Discussion

  • 2.1  Sociability of QUT international students in Australian
  • 2.2  QUTIC International students’ friends
  • 2.3 QUTIC International students’ barriers to being sociable in Australia
  • 2.4 Requirements in terms of social relationships

3 Recommendations

Reference list

  • Appendix A: Completed Questionnaires
  • Appendix B: Tally sheets
  • Appendix C: Report Project: Part A

List of figures

  • Figure 1: Assessments of international student’s social relationships  2
  • Figure 2: Nationality of friends of QUTIC international students  3
  • Figure 3: Negative effects on international students’ social relationships  4
  • Figure 4: Important activities for social relationship development 5

1.  Introduction

1.1  Background

Corporate Social Responsibility, (CSR) and Global Organization of Students, (GOS) are both involved in this report. The president of Corporate Social Responsibility, Mr Sami Wilson, has authorised the Global Organization of Students (GOS), a company that cares about international student’s affairs, to do a report about QUT international students’ social relationship adjustments in Australia. He has also produced numerous reports that advocate on their behalf. Indeed, the issue of international students’ adjustment is very important because international education industry is becoming a major source of growth in the Australian economy. (Heffernan & Farrell, 2005) state that the growing competition for international students has improved the marketing concentration of universities in Australia. Thus, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aims to improve its business by achieving its goals by this report. In addition, QUT international students might provide a good sample about international students’ social relationship adjustments in Australia. This report will be submitted to CSR on 16th September 2011.

1.2    Objectives
  • To determine students’ experiences of social relationship adjustments in Australia
  • To examine how the campus social environment impacts QUT international students’ social relationships in Australia
  • To support CSR president Sami Wilson by providing some recommendations to improve QUT international students’ social relationships in Australia.
1.3   Method

Data for this report was collected through the administration of a 10-question survey, which was comprised of dichotomous, multiple choice, scale, rank-order, mixed search, and open questions. An example of this survey can be seen in Appendix A. A targeted sample method was used to distribute the questionnaires to twenty QUT international students. It was distributed on 1st September 2011, in the P Block Residence of Kelvin Grove campus. The surveys were then collected and the information analysed. The findings are presented in graphs and tables.

1.4  Scope

The investigation constituted of two parts. First, the international students were asked about their experiences of social relationships in Australia. Secondly, the students were asked to discuss how the Australian social environment affects QUT international students. The primary research is based on the results of the aforementioned questionnaires, while secondary research was conducted through library databases and other credible sources. Some data was not included in the final report as the results were insignificant. However, this report has reliable restrictions in terms of the sample size and time but, the data collected is good enough for a number of key conclusions to be drawn.

2  Discussion

2.1   Sociability of QUT international students in Australian

Figure 1: Assessments of international student’s social relationships

  • 2.1.1   Discussion

Figure 1 shows the quality of participants’ social relationships in Australia. Most of the participants are satisfied with their social life in Australia. However, a minority of participants’ social relationships need improvement, while others consider theirs to be poor.

  • 2.1.2   Conclusion

These findings suggest that the wealth of cultural diversity and social sophistication that international students convey to Australian’s universities and society are valued by Australian themselves. As a result, Australia appears to be a respectable social relationship environment for QUT international students.

2.2   QUTIC International students’ friends

Figure 2: Nationality of friends of QUTIC international students

Discussion

Figure 2 shows the results collected in the survey with regard to where the friends of the participants came from. As seen above, the “different countries” option was chosen by 50% of participants; the option of “same as mine” was chosen 35% while those of “Australia” and “No friends” are represented by 10% and 5% respectively.

  • 2.2.1   Conclusion

From the results above, it is seen that most QUT international students seem to be social, despite their nationality. These results reflect positivity on the international students’ social relationship adjustments in Australia. However, the majority of QUT international students appear to have some difficulty in socializing with Australians. This may suggest that intercultural communication might remain a challenge for international students. Obstacles to interaction between the host country and international students may include differing ideas of friendship among different cultures.

2.3   QUTIC International students’ barriers to being sociable in Australia

Adjustment of International Students Social Relationships in Australia

Figure 3: Negative effects on international students’ social relationships

  • 2.3.1   Discussion

Figure 3 shows the barriers in the Australian social environment that affect the participants. As seen in figure 3, language difficulties appear to be the most significant obstacle on participants’ social relationships. However, being busy with the study is also another important factor that influences participants’ relationships. Other factors are also significant but do not have a severe effect on participants’ social relationships as the first two.

  • 2.3.2  Conclusion

From these findings, it seems that language difficulties have an enormous effect on international students’ relationships. Some QUT international students seem to feel isolated from the host culture because of their inability to speak English. According to, major effects on international student adjustment to the host culture include language skills and gender. In addition, state that lack of time plays an important part in hindering students from participating in social activities.

2.4  Requirements in terms of social relationships

Adjustment of International Students Social Relationships in Australia

Figure 4: Important activities for social relationship development

  • 2.4.1  Discussion

Figure 4 represents requirements that participants need in order to participate in the social life, in Australia. Regular conversation with Australians is the most important requirement, while the least important is meeting with student welfare. The perceived value of other requirements was less clear.

  • 2.4.2  Conclusion

The above findings indicate that QUT international students need to speak with Australian people so as to improve on their language skills, which could at the same time improve their social relationships in Australia. Barratt and Huba find that students understand that spoken language skills are the most beneficial tool for pursuing their interests and in constructing relationships with people in the host country. As a result, more interactive social events are needed, such as sports, interesting e-mailing events, and museum visits.

3. Recommendations

Based on the results of this survey, GOS suggests the following recommendations to the president of CSR, Mr Sami Wilson, in order to improve QUT international students’ social relationships:

  • 3.1  First, CSR should provide a friendly social environment in which participants can make friends and enhance interaction between Australian students and QUT international students. Despite the fact that most participants are satisfied with their social life in Australia, some of them are not satisfied. Most anxieties are indeed related to the environment of the community college campus, as well as to features of the students themselves.
  • 3.2  CSR should also provide extra language lessons for QUT international students because language difficulties are also a barrier to cross-cultural relationships as shown in Figure 3.
  • 3.3  The need for participants’ social activities that help them to share their interests with others and make them more sociable is another recommendation to CSR, and it should provide social activities such as sports or museum visits.
Reference List
  • Heffernan T., & Farrell M., (2005). The Impact of Culture on Early International Relationship Development in the Education Centre: Business and Economics-Marketing and Purchasing,4. Retrieved on 14th September 2011 from Queensland University of Technology Course materials Database.

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