Preparing international students for life in Australia: The student perspective on what they need and what they are (not) getting?

John Wellard1

1Universities Australia, Deakin, Australia

Anecdotal reports suggest that the information international students receive before they leave their home country is, at times, not sufficient to prepare them for life in Australia. Reports of international student isolation and difficulties in integrating with campus and wider communities have been linked to students feeling under prepared for life in Australia. To explore this issue in more detail, Universities Australia conducted a whole of sector research project which examined the perspectives of international students on pre-departure information and to seek examples of best practice and challenges to providing useful and culturally appropriate pre-departure information. Approximately 90,000 first- and second-year international students were sent an online survey which asked students to provide their views about information they were provided about life in Australia before they arrived, the source and format of this information and whether it was useful.  Over 17,000 students provided a response to the survey, with the survey results being supplemented by targeted focus groups with international students and discussions with universities regarding best practices. This presentation will be the first opportunity for international educations stakeholders to obtain an in depth report on the outcomes of this study and to discusses the links between pre-departure information, student experience and success. It will also provide an opportunity to highlight work being done by the university sector regarding predeparture information and explore examples of best practice.


John has responsibility for developing and coordinating policy and services in support of the Australian university sector’s international engagement activities. Prior to this John was the Counsellor for the Australian National University at the Embassy of Australian Washington D.C. where he was responsible for managing relationships between the ANU, North American universities and other institutions, policy makers and opinion leaders. John has held senior administrative positions within the University sector and has served time as a policy advisor in the Australian Government and held academic positions in Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.

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