Social inclusion and international students

Mulyadi Robin

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This research aims to create a framework for social inclusion among internationalstudents. International students continue to be an important stakeholder in theAustralian higher education sector and a growing proportion of these students enterAustralian universities through alternative pathways of entry (university-backed,guaranteed entry foundation study programs). Enrolments into guaranteed entryfoundation studies are appealing to international students as they enable students toenroll into tertiary education with lower English language requirements as well asacademic entry scores.However, previous research shows that the low level of language fluency andliteracy skills that characterize many of these students, as well as their concomitantinteractions with the larger University student community tend to become barriers ofsuccess. This is further confounded often with high levels of pressure from theirfamilies to do well in these courses. This is alarming, as prior international researchfound that acculturative stress, social exclusion, as well as both academic andfinancial pressures are linked with depressive symptoms and lower life satisfactionamong international students.Drawing from the sojourner adjustment, self-efficacy, and positive organisationalbehaviour literatures, I test the influence of acculturative factors, personaldispositions, and perceived support structures as key drivers for students’ success.The study found support for the idea that social inclusion, through perceivedorganisational and social support, is positively related with students’ academic andsocial outcomes. Despite the increasing popularity and numbers of international students beingaccepted through alternative pathways, there is still a lack of understanding of theacademic and social needs of the international students’ community, as well as howeducators can better cater for and facilitate their learning. Further, the academicliterature on international students, while diverse, still lacks direction (Bierwiaczonek& Waldzus, 2016). As international students are important stakeholders in theTertiary education sector, this research has significant impact potential in providingvaluable insights into the challenges that both international students and academicsface. The potential findings may also offer solutions to increase the quality of life andsocial inclusion for international students.From a learning perspective, this presents a challenge for academics and theirpedagogical approaches. Extant research indicates that current pedagogicalapproaches adopted in Australian and “western” universities need to be adapted tofit the needs of international students, many of whom come from Asian or Confucianlearning backgrounds (Saravanamuthu & Yap, 2014; Cadman & Song, 2012). Thecurrent study provides an empirically-based framework to enhance students' success in tertiary settings. Further, this topic is also important from a funding andbusiness perspective – as funding pressures for Australian Universities continue toincrease, this market segment becomes more important as a stream of revenue(Robertson, 2011).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventTertiary Education Research in New Zealand - Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Duration: 29 Nov 20171 Dec 2017


ConferenceTertiary Education Research in New Zealand
Abbreviated titleTERNZ
CountryNew Zealand
CityPalmerston North
Internet address

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