by Cheryl Cook
Abstract: As traditional international mono-markets decline, our knowledge of other cultures is being challenged by the influx from a more variable market. We need to question if, on the basis of our past cultural encounters, it is now possible to deal effectively, realistically and empathetically with the increasing range of factors presented by this cultural variety.
This is an issue confronting support areas, such as the International Office at the Gippsland campus of Monash University, where, at any one time, over 30 different, and often distinct national groups require perceptive support. Profiling individual students via one-on-one interviews, as representatives of disparate cultures, is a one approach that facilitates and creates opportunities for empathetic understanding.
A number of benefits to the international office accrue from this: increasing cross-cultural knowledge, broadening of perceptions, identifying service gaps, building of individual relationships, creating insights into student needs, generating contextualization of students’ actions, constructing student experiences and strategies, and encouraging acceptance of difference. The student also benefits in that the opportunity enables them to take the role of an expert authority, to be a deliverer rather than a receiver of knowledge, to share their culture, to make cultural comparisons that provide personal insights and to connect their home experiences with their study experiences.
This paper discusses one strategy used in a multi-focused approach to improving the experience of international students at university.
Key words: international student support; cultural profiling; professional development; cultural awareness; student experience; narrative research
Maria Victoria McCarthy
Abstract: Learning and practising basic skills in aromatherapy and gentle yoga stretches proved to be a promising venue for both International and Domestic Australians Students to get together in a safe and positive environment. Within International Student Services at QUT, this activity is usually offered from the third week of each semester. It is a one hour program for four weeks where participants gather in a circle and are welcomed to express how they are feeling at the time. The session is followed by a demonstration and instructional self massage on the head, face, arms, palms and feet areas.
The participants are provided and encouraged to use sweet almond oil with very thin drops of lavender oil to assist their self massage. Gentle Yoga routine then proceeds starting with “warm up” stretches; followed by a “workout”; then finishes with a “cool down moves and relaxation”. Towards the end of the session, the par ticipants are encouraged to say a positive word or two that they feel will help them manage their hectic day better. It was quite phenomenal how the student participant seemed to encourage each other in being positive and speaking with energy after the session.
Keywords: Aromatherapy, International students, Stress management, domestic students, intergration.
Abstract: Though the social and economic security of international students is an important factor influencing student and parent decisions regarding where to access international education, researchers have paid little attention to defining the notion of "security". Drawring on literature from a range of fields, the current paper is used to advance the concept of cultural difference and relocation. These issues are contexualised within the rising international educational market and how pastoral care is managed in Australia and New Zealand.
Key Words: International students, education, security, pastoral care.
Maria Victoria McCarthy and Lio Lay
Abstract: In this workshop, a sample of evolving integrated counselling approaches will be presented followed by a discussion on hypothetical case scenarios where the said framework may be applied. There will be opportunities for the participants to incorporate their own counselling practice framework while learning from others during the discussion. It is practical and beneficial that this workshop be given 60 to 90 minutes length to maximise participation and more in depth discussion.
Participants in this workshop are encouraged to form an e-mail list for an “Advise and Consultation Forum for International Student Advisers/Counsellors”. The aim of this forum is to promote amongst International Student Advisers and Counsellors the sharing of strategies that are practical and effective in supporting or helping International Students.
Keywords: Counselling, integrated counselling, counselling framework, student support
Abstract: The University of New South Wales initiated a weekend ‘Orientation Getaway’ for international students in 2005. The program was coordinated by International Student Services (ISS) and facilitated with the help of ISS Peer Mentors. The program aimed to enhance both the group and individual needs of students during their critical transition phase.
At the group level the ‘Orientation Getaway’ developed a sense of belonging and built support networks within the international community whilst enhancing student confidence, knowledge of Australian culture, and career and study awareness at the individual level. The ISANA session will outline the design, implementation and evaluation aspects of this program so far.
Key Words: orientation, peer mentors, community building, student support