How to Speak Straylan

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If Epictetus had it right, then Australia can proudly hold their title as ‘Land of the Free’. As an Australian, I am proud to be currently enrolled within our tertiary education system. I strongly believe it is one of the things our government has got right. As institutions, universities embody social, economic and intellectual resources which combine to generate benefits on a local, national and global scale. Of the approximately  one million students enrolled in universities across Australia, international students make up around 300,000 of these. This varies across campus’ with the rate of international students varying widely between 3% and 46%.

Australia is quick to boast that they have one of the highest “shares of tertiary-educated adults” however, these shares would vary greatly if it were not for the “international students”.  The increase in international students has sparked interest within the Australian government as “International education is Australia’s third or fourth largest export industry”. The government seeks to “continue to improve the effectiveness of governance and regulation in international education”.

Why are international students choosing to study in Australia? Universities Australia conducted a study into this and found the top reasons cited to be:

1.Reputation of chosen qualification (reported by 95 per cent of respondents);
2. Reputation of chosen institution (94 per cent); and
3. Reputation of Australia’s education system (93 per cent).

The study showed with overwhelming evidence that it is the quality of the education provided as well as Australia’s educational reputation that draws International students to Australian campus’.

So what could be driving them away? Studies have found issues with culture are common for example; it could be the “Stralyan” more commonly known as Australian Slang.

a1007432c768035c0be771fa7f8cf8dd--australia-funny-western-australiaWhilst this unique language is not often found on the pages of a textbook or exam booklet, “research suggests that there is an interconnection between
English language proficiency and social interaction”.  The government recognises the best way to overcome this is through social interactions between domestic and international students, Such interactions not only strengthen the students’ language proficiency in English and their communicative competence but also their confidence and sense of agency.

Whilst Tertiary education in Australia is highly successful and sought after, the international or intercultural educational experience is not as “rich…as it could be”.

In order to demonstrate the value of learning and education worldwide, I will leave you on a happier note.  With some words from some of the best mentors and teachers fiction has to offer!

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You Push a Button and the World is yours.

“You push a button and the world is yours”

 

Surely in 1964 Canadian communication philosopher Marshall McLuhan had no idea just how true this statement would be over 50 years on.

As of 2017, over 50% of the world’s population now has access to the internet, half the population of the world also has access to a smart phone. These numbers are enormous and astounding. McLuhan coined the phrase “the global village” to describe the very beginning of this phenomenon. The global village is understood to transcend the physical in a way that allows everyone to have a voice and opinion whilst providing the freedom to share these. It pushes the idea that “people of the world can be brought closer together by the globalisation of communication, no matter how far apart we may actually live”. 

 

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The concept of a global community has also been accepted by the great minds of the 21st century including Bill Gates. 

Findings published by ‘we are social’ in collaboration with ‘hootsuite’ reveal that every year we edge closer to this global concept becoming a reality, perhaps we are for now a town square but over time the online communities will flourish and connect so inextricably the world of today will seem old and backwards. With hopes of free speech and safe spaces, one can only dream!

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When looking at what percentage of the world population is online, I began to question where this traffic is coming from, what parts of the world are connected and just how connected are they.  When looking at the map below, it is clear that North America penetrates the market in the largest way with 88% of its residents connected to the internet. When one compares this to a mere 33% in South Asia it is easy to understand concerns of “cultural imperialism”. Whilst considered a “dystopian view”, the concerns can be evidenced and are very real.

 

When weighing up both the utopian views of a global community and the dystopian views of cultural imperialism, I begin to wonder. If I push a button, is the world really mine? or am I buying right into cultural imperialism.