Humans are, by nature, social creatures. We seek out the comforts of friendship, laughter and social interaction. Bernie Klower is one of the regulars at Bathurst RSL club – she can barely walk in the door without someone calling her over with a cheerful greeting and a sincere “how are ya?”. The staff know her drink of choice before she has to ask (a carafe of wine if it’s a weekend, a classic Tooheys New if it’s a weekday) and come sit with her to share a smoke on their breaks. She hasn’t had to visit a butchers in years, with all the spoils a Sunday night meat raffle offers. Get her talking and she’ll tell you how important her friends are to her, almost like family, and how they all call in and spend time together at the club. To Bernie, the RSL is more than just a Leagues Club, its part of who she is, part of her community and even part of her home.
International education is one of Australia’s biggest industries, and in all honesty, is thriving, both for Australian and for international students. But there are definitely problems facing international students when studying in Australia, and a lot of these problems are the result of Australia’s attitude towards other cultures, races and ethnicities. Instead of understanding that internationalising education could be an amazing opportunity for Australians to expand their world view and engage with people from a range of different backgrounds, we as a nation tend to try to force international students to conform and adapt to our cultural norms, instead of embracing the cultural differences and reaping the benefits of intercultural encounters. (more…)