Understanding and managing international student security needs in Australia : the case of Monash University

2017-01-09T05:15:15Z (GMT) by Forbes-Mewett, Helen
The rapid growth in the number of international students choosing Australia as a preferred place for tertiary education has brought many benefits and challenges to both students and universities. Australia has become a temporary home for many thousands of students prepared to pay large sums of money for the opportunity to advance their education and better their lives in a location that promotes itself as safe and welcoming. Nonetheless, cash-strapped universities should be mindful of the volatility of the market and the fact that students' needs are diverse and compounded by relocating to a foreign environment. Amidst strategies employed to attract both international students and funds, is the issue of providing support to discerning and culturally sensitive students whose requirement for security in a host community has implications that need to be properly addressed. The thesis adopts Baldwin's (1987: 13) abstract definition of security - 'a low probability of damage to acquired values' - to encompass both social and psychological elements of international student life. An extensive discussion concerning security in this abstract sense precedes consideration of the influence of cultural difference and relocation. Inspired by many years of experience working and studying at Monash University, the candidate's belief in optimal education opportunities for all underpins the aim of this thesis, which is to clarify international student security needs and to explore how a large internationalised university provides the support services required to ensure international students are secure. Contextualised in the global market where education qualifications have become a much sought after commodity, the thesis argues for international students' right to security as both consumers and human beings. Empirical evidence gathered from Monash University documentation, international student survey data and interviews with staff are utilised to ascertain whether or not support services successfully provide security to the University's large international student cohort. The thesis contributes to a continuing debate concerning whether specialised or mainstreamed services best provide for international students. Through this contribution and giving credence to the predictions of contingency theory, it is concluded that Monash University to date has not successfully provided for the security of its international student cohort.