Launch of a research project on international student engagement

The group of scholars, comprising Ly Tran, Jill Blackmore, Danielle Hartridge, Helen Forbes-Mewett, Renata Aldana and Diep Nguyen and in partnership with Insider Guideswill seek to identify enabling and inhibiting factors for the provision of support to international students, and showcase good practices as well as those that are not sustainable or effective.

The project, funded by Australia’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment, is one of the few the government is funding to support the implementation of Australia’s International Education Strategy 2021. -2030.

The team has already conducted considerable research on supporting international students in cross-cultural connectivity, work-integrated learning and employability, teaching and learning, mental health and well-being, a noted Ly Tran.

“We have a broad understanding of the principles behind a good support offering, but in this new project, we’ll identify what real-world best practices look like and develop a lot more nuance about how to foster optimal experiences for customers. students in a range of fields,” she said. Explain.

Researchers will collect information from ELICOS, schools, VETs and higher education providers in the public and private sectors in Australia and overseas.

The group is keen to hear the voices and experiences of a wide range of community agencies, professional organizations, government departments, state and territory governments, local councils, employers, ethnic organizations, from youth associations, business councils, accommodation providers and OSHC vendors, Tran continued.

“Supporting the needs of international students during crises has emerged as a critical area of ​​international student support that warrants more nuanced understandings”

“We also want to hear from international students and graduates and student organizations,” she said. “We want to gather information about their experiences with effective programs and activities that facilitate their engagement, needs and views on engagement with national peers, education providers, support services, employers potentials and local communities, including factors promoting or inhibiting this engagement. ”

Funding comes from the government $10 million International Education Innovation Fund, announced in February 2022, which has allocated $300,000 to “develop industry best practice guidance on international student engagement.”

“Meeting the needs of international students during crises, including war, geopolitical, health, financial crises and disasters, has become a critical area of ​​international student support that warrants more nuanced understandings in order to lay the foundations for the future. development of good practices to support this situation. cohort,” Tran explained.

Current research suggests that it is crucial that a good support offer is inclusive and meets the diverse needs of students, and empathy must be at the center of any support programme. It must also “be context-specific and adaptable so that it can respond to factors influencing the changing context, related to policy, cohorts, sectors or emerging crises,” Tran said.

“Support services would be more effective if they capitalized on and provided opportunities for international students to co-design and implement agency to improve support for themselves and their peers,” she added. .

“Our project aims to expand our current knowledge and build the evidence base to develop appropriate support in this area.”

If you would like to share an example of good practice and be kept informed of its development and results, please send an email to [email protected]