It is time for international students to come out of the dark recesses of their often-overpriced student accommodations. Dear friends, you are now called upon to speak your minds and share concerns that matter most to you.
Say hello to the recently established Council of International Students Australia (CISA), Australia’s new peak representative organisationorganization for international students.
Two years of discussion among representative bodies and international students culminated in CISA’s Inaugural General Meeting (IGM) last July, during which a national executive committee was elected.
CISA was founded to voice the needs and interests of international students more effectively, and will focus its efforts on various issues concerning international students, such as advocating for the amendments of discriminatory laws, and pushing working limits beyond 20 hours per week in the semester. Some of us could really do with the extra dough!
Part of CISA’s mission is to ensure those in the private college sector, its potentially most vulnerable constituents, are able to have an active and effective voice as well.
Newly elected president Robert Atcheson also believes hosting an annual national forum for international students will provide a united platform for students to contribute towards the formulation of representative policy. Previous roundtables held by the federal government have not adequately reflected the voice of the broader international student community, and Atcheson hopes international student forums will be able to be held in each state at least once a year through CISA. Hopefully, CISA would act as an effective conduit for concerns to be voiced to government entities while protecting students’ identities.
According to a postgraduate law student from the USA, one of the important actions needed to be taken by the government is to help the citizenry cope with the changing societal landscape of Australia, from a predominately Anglo society to a truly vast and diverse multi-cultural one, considering the substantial rise in immigration rates over the past few years. This will help bring a higher level of equality and social inclusion to more than half a million international students in Australia who face complex challenges from education, security, to quality of life concerns.
UniLifeMag also spoke to some of UniSA’s international students, about the issues they face
Studying a Bachelor of Communication and Media Management at UniSA
“My big struggle is with learning the language over here. Our course fees are also extremely high – $2000 per course. But the security is very good”.
An international student from Malaysia; studying Mass Communication
“The weather over here is a big issue for me. It’s easier to make friends here than in Malaysia, though – Australians are really friendly”.
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