International Education: A challenging journey to find yourself

Moving abroad is one of the most challenging experiences an individual can encounter in their lifetime. I can say this from experience. As a French-born student, raised in England before moving to Australia in 2005, I can safely say that adapting to an unfamiliar culture is very difficult but rewarding. Moving to Australia, at first, took a negative toll on me. I found myself isolated, neglected from locals and homesick. But as time went on, I began to adapt and my connection to others improved. For international students, however, I feel that the adapting process may be slightly harder.

Kell and Vogel (2007) state that the “achievement of success for international students is not only their academic adjustment but also their social and cultural adjustment”. International students generally find problems in adapting to academic life abroad, particularly socially and culturally. According to Kell and Vogel (2007) international students in Australia often struggle with the English used by locals because it is significantly different to the English language they were taught prior to studying overseas. Furthermore, international students often find it difficult to establish common ground with Australian students. An article in The Age reveals that in the 240 students interviewed from 11 different universities, half of them cited the making of local friends as a major cause for their loneliness in their time in Australia. This is an issue which could have a negative effect on the Australian economy (who thrive on the continual income of international students). However, this issue can easily be fixed if Australian students become a lot more culturally aware and much less parochial.

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On a more positive note, studying abroad can provide international students with a different perspective on culture and the world. It also allows international students to obtain multiple cultural identities and also gain confidence in themselves for further trips.

References:

Kell,P & Vogl, G 2006, International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes, in S Velayutham & A Wise (eds), Everyday Multiculturalism Proceedings, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University, pp. 28-29.  

Ryan, D 2010, ‘Tongue ties break down the barriers’, The Age, June 4, viewed 25th August 2014, http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/tongue-ties-break-down-the-barriers-20100604-xk0w.html

(Image) AUG 2012, Institution of The Month: University of Wollongong, AUG, October 2012, viewed 25th August 2014, http://augstudy.com/australia/institution-of-the-month-2012-10/

 

Hollywood and Cultural Imperialism

Warner Brothers. Universal. Paramount. 20 Century Fox. These are all major companies, who have played a major role in continuing the global dominance of the Hollywood film industry. However, this is often classified as a form of “Cultural Imperialism”, and this global dominance can severely affect the local film industries worldwide. According to Wanwarang Maisuwong (2012, pg 1) films are “seen as a global medium” which connects a large audience with the same message, which are then perceived differently between individuals, depending on “personal perception and external environment”. Therein lays the problem of America’s dominance in the global film industry. If we continue to solely consume and watch American films, how will we, as curious human beings, expand our knowledge and awareness of cultures other than Americas? And by continually consuming American films, does this encourage us to consume other American products promoted in certain films?

Film: Man of Steel (2013) starring Henry Cavill as Superman.

A major factor, which contributes to this problem, lies within distribution and to bigger extent finance. As a keen cinema enthusiast, I enjoy watching both Hollywood films and foreign films. However, I find it increasingly difficult to watch foreign films at the cinema because a majority of foreign films receive very limited distribution, which is all down to finance. Every company is out to make a profit. This is understandable, considering the current economic state. Hollywood companies, which I have previously mentioned, are no exception and studio executives believe that providing large distributions of foreign films, particularly in the U.S., is a risk that could affect their profits. This belief has also spread to distribution companies worldwide including Australia which henceforth limits the screenings of foreign films. Speaking as a cinema enthusiast, this is a massive disappointment.

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Audiences are now constantly regurgitating the same American beliefs and cultural doings by watching Hollywood films, instead of discovering new cultures and film-making techniques which come with experiencing foreign films. However, the audience are not to blame. The fact of the matter is, there are so few screenings of foreign films nowadays and so little marketing for foreign films that the public are simply unaware of the cinematic experiences of foreign films. This is all down to one thing: Hollywood’s cultural imperialism.

References:
Maisuwong ,W 2012, ‘The Promotion of American Culture Through Hollywood Movies to the World’, International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology (IJERT), Volume 1, Issue 4, pg. 1-7

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/hollywoodsign.jpg/

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/06/15/article-0-1A258F9D000005DC-373_634x384.jpg/

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