Hi Digital Diary Followers
Many would be aware of the ongoing attacks on Indian students during the period of 2009-2010. It was these attacks that led to consequences including families calling back their children to their country of birth and the number of Indian students applying for student visas falling by half (NDTV, 2010).
However these attacks are not the only instance where Australia has fostered an unwelcoming culture for International students studying abroad. Recently two Chinese international students were victims of a gang assault on Sydney’s public transport system. The robbery, which included racial taunts, left one of the victims with a fractured nose and cigarette burns (Cai, 2012).
The account of the event sent shockwaves through Australia’s international student community (Dong, 2012). With the growth of social media it was not long before the news had travelled back to China. One of the victims, twenty nine year old Xuan, posted online about the incident and the account was re-tweeted more than ten thousand times on China’s popular microblogging website Weibo (Dong, 2012). After this is was not long before the incident was televised with The China Central Television network sending warning messages that there was a serious threat to the safety of Chinese students in Australia (Dong, 2012). There were even reports that more than three thousand students had signed a petition and were considering staging a rally (Cai, 2012).
With a growing number of international students having negative intercultural experiences with Australia it depicts the country in a tone which is extremely parochial and even to an extent ethnocentric. It is also leading to students preferring to explore education opportunities in other areas of the world such as Canada and the United Kingdom (NDTV, 2010).
Dong, an Asian international student from the University of Melbourne, believes that the incident will add to the growing violent reputation Australia is adopting and states that:
“It is a shame that many of us don’t feel acceptance and respect. I would like to feel safe in Australia but it is hard to relax enough to make real connections here with nightmare stories”