When you visit our fair city central area of Melbourne, you may be somwhat overwhelmed by the numbers of Asians, especially from the mid to the north of the CBD. Too many Asians in Australia, some would cry. But no, not this lot anyway. They are mostly overseas students studying here in Melbourne.
They pay lots of dollars for the priviledge and if you keep up with the news a bit, both you and I and they know they are being ripped off. They get a second rate education by educators who generally could not give a stuff about them, by educational institutions who are just in it for the money, by businesses who welcome their custom, by developers who build sweaty shoe boxes for them to live in, by governments who like the foreign money coming in.
It has taken some time, by they are finally starting to rebel a bit, and of course the bolshie Indian students were the first. Indians do know how to protest much better than than the Asian students. They have a long history of it. (If you are overseas, in Oz, we only call people Asian if they are from the Asian continent and east of India)
Imagine if you will, at seventeen, leaving your family based society and being on your own in a foreign country. Almost everything is alien to you. Your family back home is just a phone call away, but they don't understand. You do have some of your own people around and they are your saviour. It is terribly hard to cope with these physically large and aggressive Australians. 'Why is not the teacher not teaching me? I have to find it all out myself.' 'Why do Australians question authority? The teacher knows best. Why do they question him/her?'
Slowly they will come to understand how Australia works, so far as education goes. Will they understand the bigger Australia? Some will I guess, but most not. Some will qualify, perhaps have rels here, and be able to stay. Good for you, you are most welcome. Just don't think you are going to bring your ageing grandparents who will never attemtp to learn English.
But the bulk will go home without a quintessential knowledge of Australia. They will know a little of Australia, but not the essence of it, even perhaps after four years. I really don't know that will have a favourable impression of Australia. They will return home, knowing they have been milked as a cash cow, but that was a price to pay for the certificate in their hand.
Australia has the ability to excell in a learning experience for overseas students. We can do better than the UK and the US, and we really ought to do better. We will reap rewards in the future.
Like sometimes we feel overwhelmed by immigrants because the number from one area is too high, maybe it is the same for students. In the sixties and seventies, many were educated here, but not in the numbers that they are now. Perhaps less is more?