Taking the Mountain to Mohammed: Transitioning International Graduate Students into Higher Education in Australia

Neera Handa, Wayne Fallon

Abstract


This paper reports on findings of evaluative research into student perceptions of a structured academic development workshop, which was specifically designed to induct and orient international students into the academic expectations of their program of study at a university in Australia. With most Australian universities engaged in the business of internationalisation of higher education, there is some debate about the adequacy of practices adopted by these institutions to familiarise their non English-speaking background (NESB) international students with the Australian academic culture. While the practices of some Western universities are sometimes said to be inadequate, there also appears some consternation about international students’ lack of motivation to learn and their inability to master Western academic conventions. Against this backdrop, the paper outlines the impetus for collaboration between the university’s Learning Skills Unit and faculty staff in
designing and facilitating a tailored academic development workshop for graduate students. After laying out related literature and details of the workshop, there is discussion of the data collection methods, and an analysis of the data from students. The paper makes a call for repeat workshops at the beginning of every semester, as an indispensable component of the overall content delivery strategies in the faculty’s graduate program. The paper concludes by contemplating the educational integrity inherent in program and faculty staff development initiatives, which are focused on addressing the academic and cultural proclivities of an international student cohort.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21913/IJEI.v2i2.89