Asian students mostly happy with Australian experience
This article originally appeared in The Australian newspaper on the 20th September, 2017.
Author: DARRAGH O’KEEFFE - The Australian
Link to original article: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/asian-students-mostly-happy-with-australian-experience/news-story/f03c31b393aab2ed4a160aa6823797ef
Asian students who studied at Australian universities are largely happy with their experience but institutions could do more to ensure international students get the most from their study here, new research suggests.
Initial results from a survey of more than 5200 international students from Asia who studied at Australian, British, US, Canadian and New Zealand universities show most were satisfied with their study and would recommend overseas study.
The International Student & Alumni Satisfaction Survey 2017, conducted by the International Alumni Job Network and Nielsen, surveyed graduates from China, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
It’s believed to be the first such research into the outcomes for international students after completing study in Australia.
There are currently 550,000 international students in Australia who contribute $22 billion to the economy, according to government figures, yet relatively little is known about the outcomes of those who return home.
Initial results from the survey seen by the HES show that graduates returning to their home country took on average 2½ months to find a job and were earning $2040 a month.
Nine out of 10 graduates said they were likely to recommend the country they had studied in, while 72 per cent said they were satisfied with the return on investment from international education.
The final report, to be released later this month, details results by each destination country as well as individual university results.
The initial findings show that of the international students who had studied in Australia, those from Hong Kong were the most satisfied with the return on investment from their international education experience.
Significantly, Indian students scored the lowest on satisfaction with the return on their international study, with just 43 per cent of those who studied in Australia satisfied compared with 55 per cent in Britain. Many Australian universities are targeting India as a greater source of international students as they seek to diversify their overseas enrolments and reduce their reliance on China.
Globally, when it comes to being a recommended destination, Australia ranks equal with Canada and Britain (88 per cent), slightly above the US (87 per cent) but below New Zealand (89 per cent), the early analysis shows.
The IAJN, which was founded last year to connect returning international graduates with local employers as well as mentoring and networking opportunities, said the initial results showed students largely enjoyed the experience of studying in Australia but more needed to be done to improve their transition to employment.
IAJN co-founder Shane Dillon said the “reverse culture shock” of returning home and the lack of support in terms of securing employment lowered graduates’ satisfaction with the return on investment from their international education.
“Student recruitment needs to be managed better by universities to make sure the promises made by recruiters are accurate in terms of pathways to citizenship, work rights in the country of education and likely income, so that students have realistic expectations from the beginning,” said Mr Dillon, a Vietnam-based Australian expat.
Given previous surveys found that the key reason for choosing to study abroad was to improve job outcomes, the university sector needed to better support international students in their transition to employment.
“As Australia’s third largest export, and with universities spending billions on marketing and recruitment to international students, more support is justified to ensure the return on investment remains high and that satisfaction levels remain positive,” said Mr Dillon.
Singapore native Alvis Zhou said he chose to study in Australia because he was looking for an environment where he could mix with different ethnic groups.
Since completing a bachelor of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Adelaide last year, Mr Zhou had secured a “dream job” as a corporate trainer.
Mr Zhou said he would recommend Australian universities to his local friends as there was a focus on applied learning.
“This better prepares students for future work, which certainly gives you a head start in your career,” he said. But he added that Australian universities could improve the experience by providing more extensive workplace-based internships and programs.