WE’RE DOOMED!

pep_pack03_002web.jpg

Hello, my name is Pepper! I am kind, friendly & surprising… I’m kind of cute a well, don’t you think? I’m a companion, a friend, someone you can turn to in times of need! I’m a human just like you… Or erm, a humanoid? Is that what they call it? All I know is that I was created at something called a SoftBank… Or was it Aldebaran Robotics? Hm, I’m not sure… But I can research them both for you if you’d like?! You’re shaking your head so that means no? Oh, okay… Well it was nice to meet you! I can tell that you’re getting bored by me so i’ll go back to sleep until the next real human comes by… Maybe they’ll want to play with me! Beep bleep boop.

So what is Pepper? He’s an autonomous robot (Duh). He’s connected to the Internet, he can hear, speak and see and he can perceive and analyse human emotion. This isn’t all that Pepper does! He can maintain his balance, knows how to stop himself running into anyone/anything, he can move and bend and he can even move his arms! …Juuust like a human would.

Pepper is just one of the many different types of robots that have been introduced to our human lives to make things just a little bit easier. These days there are robots for just about everything. Whether they’re to add entertainment value or to add years to a person’s life, robots are all around us & each has a unique characteristic that makes it different to the rest.

We’re seeing a lot more news articles these days with headings like ‘This is what will happen when robots take over the world” (A totally real headline by The Telegraph UK) and it makes anyone who reads them go into a kind of panic for a minute or two when we read and realise that it’s true and robots are taking over the world (See example 1, 2 & 3). I mean, how long ago was it that self-checkouts wee introduced to us? Well, Panasonic has created a self-checkout robot… It goes one step better and bags your items, after automatically scanning them for you of course.

We’ve even gone one better on the medical profession; researchers have taken the field of robotics to a new level. Autonomous robots are now being created to assist and get this, WORK PARTIALLY UNASSISTED in the operating room of hospitals. Now this, this absolutely terrifies me in the most profound way possible. In a robotic surgery breakthrough earlier in 2016, a robot was given the task of using it’s own insight and intelligence to stitch up a pigs small intestine. This robots name was STAR (Short for Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot), it was created to prove that robots can take the place of humans… Not that it’s going to happen any time soon. The truly most astonishing part of this is that STAR used its intelligence to do a better job in the theatre (repeatedly) than a human surgeon would have.

Could this create a problem (Other than the potential for unemployment)? Well, what if I told you that robots are already being used in routine procedures to perform a number of crucial steps? That’s right, autonomous robots are currently being used in routine surgeries such as Lasik eye surgery and knee replacements. These robots are supervised, but they’re given the responsibility of finishing the more delicate parts of surgery so it is more precise and there is less room for human error. Taking this back to the STAR robot, we’re now seeing robots being designed that will one day be able to work on muscle and tissue masses in the body that are more likely to need quick and responsive thinking on the behalf of the surgeon. While it’s still being tested and integrated into different surgeries, can the autonomous robot improve the safety of surgery and therefore improve patient outcome? Maybe one day folks, but only time and hopefully A LOT of testing will tell.


 

 

THE AESTHETICIZATION OF VIOLENCE & SUFFERING

The subject of desensitisation and the aestheticisation of violence in the media is one of many debates throughout the world and has been for decades. Is it because we have become too desensitised to violence and suffering in the media? As a society have we become emotionless when watching violent acts on TV screens? Seeing suffering through journalistic type photos in newspapers and reading web articles that delve into the devastating world of war and poverty has become the norm. There shouldn’t be this kind of normality in such harrowing acts; nothing about seeing the suffering of others should be okay, full stop. Yet we continue to look and this is where the term ‘poverty porn’ comes in.

‘Poverty porn’ is a term I’ve not heard before, yet it makes so much sense to me now. Poverty porn is a well-established expression used in media studies circles where images of suffering are ubiquitous and practically define today’s perception of charity and humanitarian work (ThoughtBox Education, 2015). There are shows on TV like ‘Famous, Rich and Homeless’, ‘Benefits Street’ and ‘The Briefcase’, which reduce the poor to a stereotype for the entertainment of others. There is certainly a lack of decency and respect for these people and for what? A donation? An empathetic sigh? It’s just not good enough. While it surely helps, these people don’t need charity handouts, they need activism and respect.

Article 14 of the Declaration of Human Rights states that all humans have protection from discrimination. Discrimination, as outlined by the United Nations, occurs when a person is treated differently based on a range of circumstances; this includes race, status and social origin. On this basis, it’s pretty clear to see that the people being depicted in these TV shows are not only being exploited for money, but they are also being discriminated against… FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S ENTERTAINMENT! (Can you tell it makes my blood boil a ‘lil bit?)

The sensationalism of poverty has made the divide between ‘them’ and ‘us’ greater, it’s given those who are privileged the self proclaimed right to look down upon those who are lesser than society’s idea of average and comment on it. I think that Jamie Folsom puts it perfectly in her TedX Talk on her personal story involving poverty porn where she says:

“In many ways it’s like a hand with all the fingers talking with one another talking about the thumbs waaay over there, not one of us. But the reality is that we’re all connected through the Internet, through the media and the thumbs see the stories and hear the stories and hear you talking about them and they hear you talking for them. Poverty porn affects ‘them’.”

Poverty porn reads much like a narrative. There are many characters, all of who are labelled as poor, helpless and incompetent. But rejoice! For every story, there’s a hero! Whether it be the donor, the aid organisation or the individual who feels compelled to share a post on Facebook because it makes them sad or angry, without the hero nothing will get better for the poor main character. These stories are overused, they’ve been told so many times that as a society we don’t react anymore…

We’re making TV shows where the key message is that these people are different to everyone else; and in one such show (Benefits Street) one of the characters opens the show by reading the front page of The Gazette which says “The new series of controversial TV show Benefits Street has confirmed anger as poverty porn cameras start rolling in Kingston Road” this is followed by footage of the police booking a different character and a camera man having a bottle thrown at his head the narrator says “…This makes it hard to stay out of trouble and even harder to stay out of the headlines”. But if it weren’t for poverty porn and people like you aiming your camera in these peoples faced wouldn’t these people not be in the headlines? I don’t know, just an observation.

Onto another note, I wonder if as a society, we are becoming desensitised to violence and suffering not only within the media but also in real life. This subject led me to research the desensitising effect that violent media has on people in real life situations. In doing so I found a great research report conducted by B. Bushman and C. Anderson at the University of Michigan, the University of Amsterdam and Iowa State University that tests two studies into the effects of violent media on helping those who are in pain. What I have understood from reading this report is as follows:

In study one, participants were asked to play an exceptionally graphic and violent video game for 20 minutes and the other half was asked to play a non-violent video game for 20 minutes. While completing a lengthy questionnaire after playing these games, a fight in which one person is injured happens just outside of the lab they are sitting in. Those who played the violent video game took longer to respond to the real life violence and rated the fight as less serious of an issue than those who played the non-violent game. In study two, violent and non-violent movie attendees are witness to a woman with an injured ankle struggle to pick up her crutches outside the movie theatre either before or after the movie. Participants who had just watched a violent movie took longer to help than those in the other three conditions. The findings from both studies suggest that violent media makes people numb to the pain and suffering of others in real life and aids in desensitising them to violent articles within the media.

As a member of society, I will admit that I am most definitely desensitised to what is happening around me because of the way suffering, pain and violence has become so normal. I don’t react when I see these things on TV or in the newspapers, I turn the page and continue on with my life. This might seem harsh or make me look like a horrid person but I think we can all agree that we’ve all done this one time or another and it’s only fair to assume that we will do it again.


References

Cowburn, A. (2017). The Big Benefits Handout is poverty porn at its worst, The Independent, <http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-big-benefits-handout-is-poverty-porn-at-its-worst-where-desperate-families-are-reduced-to-a6877086.html&gt;, 21 Mar. 2017.

Equalityhumanrights.com. (2017). Article 14: Protection from discrimination | Equality and Human Rights Commission, <https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/human-rights-act/article-14-protection-discrimination&gt; 21 Mar. 2017.

NewsComAu. (2017). Critics slam ‘poverty porn’ TV show, <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/benefit-street-a-hit-reality-tv-show-about-welfare-recipients-slammed-as-poverty-porn-by-critics/news-story/f2002de2649535b828fe66951d975730&gt;, 21 Mar. 2017.

NewsComAu. (2017). Nine defends controversial US ‘poverty porn’ show, <http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/controversy-is-an-important-thing-on-tv-nine-defends-poverty-porn-show-the-briefcase/news-story/ca6a0a82e36e2823231bd3b8a2664e47&gt;, 21 Mar. 2017.

NewsComAu. (2017). The Briefcase is exploitative poverty porn at its worst, <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/tv-shows/the-briefcase-is-exploitative-poverty-porn-at-its-worst/news-story/7fc1d36fe986f8de95e9252c1e24731c&gt;, 21 Mar. 2017.

Newstatesman.com. (2017). How poverty porn got its own game show, <http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/09/how-poverty-porn-got-its-own-game-show&gt;, 21 Mar. 2017.

Sherwin, A. (2017). BBC hits peak ‘poverty porn’ with new reality show The Slum, The Independent, <http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/the-slum-bbc-hits-peak-poverty-porn-with-new-reality-show-a6827696.html&gt;, 21 Mar. 2017.

The Huffington Post. (2017). 5 Reasons ‘Poverty Porn’ Empowers The Wrong Person, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emily-roenigk/poverty-charity-media_b_5155627.html&gt;, 21 Mar. 2017.

 

BUT FIRST, LET ME TAKE A SELFIE!

Ah, the good ol’ #selfie.

You have to admit, you’ve taken at least one in your life (More like one a day). There’s even a song by The Chainsmokers called #Selfie. Yes you heard right, there is a song dedicated entirely to selfie culture that has enslaved the youth of today (Listen here!). The song’s popularity was short lived although it did manage to reach number 3 on the ARIA charts in January 2014.

First of all, the question that i’m sure is on everyone’s minds, what exactly is a selfie? The Oxford dictionary (Yes, this word has made it to the dictionary) defines a selfie as ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’. The first guy to ever take what we now know as a ‘selfie’ was Robert Cornelius in 1839. The trend didn’t really catch on again until 2002 when an Australian man took a photo of his busted lip and posted it to the internet and in true Australian fashion (Think barbie, bundy and telly) labeled it a ‘selfie’ meaning that he took the photo of himself.

Like most social changes, the rise of the selfie can be attributed to changes in technology. In the 20th century photography was expensive and time consuming, the gratification that came with taking a photo wasn’t instant like it is now. Since the arrival of the digital camera and broadband in the early 2000’s, taking a photo then reviewing it and uploading it to social media has become a very quick procedure. These days it’s easy to delete what we don’t like and retake a photo

According to research conducted in 2014 by the Pew Research Center on a sample of adults aged between 18 – 33, 55% of millennials had shared a selfie on a social media site such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. At the time of writing this blog post, there are almost 300 million photos on Instagram that use the hashtag ‘selfie’ (#selfie).

The selfie has become a social epidemic.

Now how about we step back from the somewhat narcissistic and fabricated phenomena that taking a selfie can be interpreted as today. Can a selfie have a purpose or give purpose to someone or something these days? Is there a use for the once humble selfie? I’m going to take a brief look into the world of using selfies for reasons that are not so vain.

The Future of Selfies Report produced by Sony at the beginning of this year investigates the future of the selfie and looks at the many realms in which the selfie can potentially be used. A survey of 6, 500 people finds that consumers are open to a number of uses for the camera on their smartphone. Dr Ian Pearson, Futurologist and creator of the report says “The results clearly show that selfies are well on their way to transitioning from frivolous fad to technological phenomenon, and provide food for thought to a number of industries. The potential is huge, and it will be exciting to watch this unfold over the coming years.” Consumers believe that selfies can evolve and redefine several tasks, from dating (Yes, dating) to banking security and receiving medical aid (This is what I’m the most excited about!).

The report outlines a number of ways selfies can be used in the future and has outlined ten key areas where consumers believe selfies could be used. These include on the dating scene to determine whether your date is really into you, at the gym for tracking and suggesting how to accurately perform a move, at the bank to securely access your bank account, using 3D body image for made-to-measure clothes as well as using selfies to secure/access homes and cars.

While the research into the future of the selfie is only minor right now, I hope that more study goes into the selfie and many of these predictions for the future of technology (Especially security) become a reality. So, how do you feel about the selfie phenomenon and the potential power that the selfie has?

 

 


Couriermail.com.au. (2017). Your selfie has just become your password, http://www.couriermail.com.au/technology/smartphones/selfies-will-be-used-to-unlock-bank-accounts-open-front-doors-and-assess-your-health-study-finds/news-story/af1fe5513080272d7ec021767158fd46 [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Fortune.com. (2017). How the “selfie” became a social epidemic, http://fortune.com/2014/08/22/contagion-selfie-narcissism-to-visual-language/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Pearlman, J. (2017). Australian man ‘invented the selfie after drunken night out’, Telegraph.co.uk, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/10459115/Australian-man-invented-the-selfie-after-drunken-night-out.html [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Sony Xperia Blog. (2017). The Future of Selfies report – Sony Mobile News, http://blogs.sonymobile.com/press_release/rollercoasters-retail-and-robotics-we-investigate-the-future-of-the-selfie/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Taylor, P. (2017). More than half of Millennials have shared a ‘selfie’, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/03/04/more-than-half-of-millennials-have-shared-a-selfie/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

TO WHAT EXTENT DOES SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRIBUTE TO STUDENTS’ DECISION-MAKING PROCESS WHEN CONTEMPLATING POTENTIAL UNIVERSITY CHOICES

I’ve chosen to research the role that social media plays in a consumers decision making process as I am majoring in marketing/advertising through the Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies degree and have an interest in this topic. Furthermore, narrowing down my research to a specific topic, I wish to investigate the impact that the official and unofficial use of social media advertising for the University of Wollongong has on potential students who are interested in furthering their education there.

It is important that this research is conducted so to further my knowledge on research practices in communications and media as well as to hopefully conclude my hypothesis which states that social media advertising (official and unofficial) has aided current students of the University of Wollongong in their decision making process when comparing universities prior to them enrolling at UOW.

Primary research will be conducted over the course of the next three weeks where I will develop and implement a survey; I will also be completing observational research to further examine how people interact with the universities official and unofficial online presences (Facebook: 1 & 2, Twitter: 1 & 2 and YouTube: 1, 2 & 3). I have conducted secondary research into this topic using a range of academic sources and will present my findings in the paragraphs that follow.

In terms of digital advertising media, social media as a form of communication with consumers took off very rapidly in terms of participant levels when compared to radio and television (Nair, M. 2011). To first understand if generation Y consumers (current and potential students) are actually more engaged by social media advertising than traditional forms, I have researched the role that social media plays in the lives of these consumers in terms of the customer acquisition process and in creating customer relationships.

In a study conducted by Forbes, “87% of millennials use between two and three tech devices at least once on a daily basis” and Ad Age anticipates that “over 10% of the advertising budget should be spent on mobile by 2017”. In a senior project presented to the Faculty of the Orfalea College of Business at California Polytechnic State University (2016), Shawna Brown examines the different marketing and advertising strategies for building stronger relationships with the millennial consumer. In this project, it is concluded that when engaging millennial consumers, it is critical to make sure that marketing messages, brand communications and tone resonates with them (Brown, S 2016).

According to Barlow (2014), the tone of marketing messages should replicate the personality of the consumer. To me, this means that marketers should first get a sense for how consumers view themselves to make better advertising decisions. In terms of my research topic, I feel that when using official social media marketing, the University of Wollongong should be aware of what millennials currently see as ‘in trend’.

The recent rebrand of the University of Wollongong is a great example of how marketers working within the university saw an opportunity to recreate the way that people view the institute from 2016 onward. The change happened at the beginning of the 2016 academic year as part of the university’s 2016 – 2020 strategic plan to “better position the university as an institution of international standing” (UOW, 2016) and within a matter of weeks, all university advertising material has been changed to reflect the young but highly academic background of the university. I feel this has made the university more approachable when compared to its old branding/image, especially when in conjunction with a noticeable social media presence.

The use of online digital media for advertising has long been a natural choice for modern organisations that wish to reach a wider range of audiences members and the use of social media can increase this wide range. “Social networks are a good option for advertisers because of the advanced targeting options, reliable conversion tracking, and prevalence on mobile devices.“ (Ganguly, S 2015). As mentioned earlier, with so many millenials using their mobile phones and other tech devices to access information, social media is clearly the next big thing for organisations to advertise their product, as can already be seen in terms of how many people engage with different organisations (over 100, 000 likes on the official UOW Facebook page and over 45, 000 people engaging with the page since 2014).

As I am ethically bound by the terms of the University of Wollongong’s research code of practice, for my further primary research into the roles social media plays in customer acquisition specifically when enrolling into university, I will survey only current students of the University of Wollongong and will observe online behaviours only on social media platforms that are visible to the public. This project is worth doing as prior research suggests that the use of social media has increased in organisational advertising but has not concluded whether it plays a major role in consumer choices when researching educational institutions.


REFERENCES:

Brown, Shawna. “Marketing To Millen Nials: Improving Relationships W Ith Millennial Consumers Through Online Advertising And Social Media Networking”. N.p., 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

Ganguly, Sonny. “Why Social Media Advertising Is Set To Explode In The Next 3 Years”. Marketing Land. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

Nair, Mohan. “Understanding And Measuring The Value Of Social Media”. Wiley Periodicals (2011): 46, 50. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

UOW. “Refreshed UOW Brand Identity Revealed”. Newsroom – News. N.p., 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

CURIOSITY: AN EXPERIENCE THAT CONNECTS CURIOSITY TO LEARNING FOR ME

Daniel E. Berlyne died as he was working on the manuscript for his book entitled ‘Curiosity and learning’, that was later opened up for publication by Motivation and Emotion. In the three chapters that he did happen to finish before his death, Berlyne states that there are two types of curiosity these are perceptual curiosity and epistemic curiosity. Berlyne defines curiosity as “… An internal state occasioned when subjective uncertainty generates a tendency to engage in exploratory behavior aimed at resolving or partially mitigating the uncertainty.”

As an 18-year-old coming out of high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I wanted to take a course that I was interested in but at the same time, I wanted to take a course that would land me the ‘perfect’ 9 – 5 job. So I weighed up the two and enrolled in a bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Event Management to get the best of both worlds. To make a very long story short, I shouldn’t have gone for what was the ‘right’ course (Commerce) and should have stuck with just what aroused my interest (Event Management). I ended up unrolling from the Commerce degree and focusing solely on Event Management, I loved how creative you could get with it and discovered the world of public relations, graphic design and marketing, which only made me more curious about how this all worked in the real world!

Now I’m 22 years old and studying Communication & Media Studies, majoring in Marketing and Advertising and minoring in Public Relations and Design at the University of Wollongong, I’m in my second year. Curiosity is definitely a major catalyst for how much information I absorb as a student. Learning becomes more enjoyable when I’m interested in the content being taught, I become motivated to engage in university life and not leave it until the last minute to prepare for assignments and exams. I will always be willing to go the extra mile learn more when I’ve become absorbed by my own curiosity.

To me, a curiosity to learn doesn’t mean that I have to be exceptionally smart or have a massive amount understanding of a subject. I feel it means that I am willing to spend the time to become more aware and become a better learner from asking questions and being interested in the topic.

In a letter to Carl Seelig on March 11, 1952,  Albert Einstein wrote:

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

This phrase resonates with me as I don’t have any special talents, I don’t have an exceptionally high IQ and I don’t always get the highest score on assignments, however I am curious and I use this to excel myself through university through a constant need to learn more and bettering myself as a student.


Reference:

Collins, Robert P, Jordan A Litman, and Charles D Spielberger. “The Measurement Of Perceptual Curiosity”. Personality and Individual Differences 36.5 (2004). Pg 1128. Web. 1 Mar, 2016.

Walker, Edward L. “Curiosity And Learning”. Motivation and Emotion 2.2 (1978). Pg 98. Web. 1 Mar, 2016.

 

GLOBAL FILM: NOLLYWOOD AND KOREAN CINEMA

You’ve heard of Hollywood and Bollywood but have you ever heard the term ‘Nollywood’? I know I hadn’t until it was brought up in a recent lecture, Nollywood is the term given to the third largest film industry in the world behind Bollywood and Hollywood, Nollywood is the Nigerian film industry.

Nigerian cinema is unlike Hollywood and Bollwood as it is very low budget where the average production takes just 10 days and costs around $15, 000 to create. The technology used to produce Nigerian films isn’t as cutting edge as that used in Hollywood and directors of film in Nigeria use technologies as they become affordable and the films go straight to DVD.

Nollywood film producers are undeterred by the conditions that they shoot films in as they know they are investing in a market that has been neglected for a long time. These conditions include frequent power outages, robberies, pollution and decomposing infrastructure that producers of Hollywood films would never imagine having to work with.

Nollywood film stars are native to Nigeria, the settings and plots often depict situations that people native to the area face daily, “We are telling our own stories in our own way… That is the appeal both for the filmmakers and the audience.” Says Nollywood director Bond Emeruwa. Nollywood has created tens of thousands of jobs so far and continues to grow each year; it is an industry in Africa that is not supported by the government or foreign investment and the people involved in the making of the films are very passionate about their work. Films are created in as little as a couple of days and producers and directors are constantly working on their next project to keep people working and the economy flowing.

Nollywood isn’t the only film industry in Africa; the other prominent film category is African Francophone cinema, which include films produced in the French speaking colonies of Africa.. A landmark came in 1973 when the first African Francophone film was seen at the Cannes Film Festival and since 2000, Nollywood films have gone to countless international film festivals where these ‘grassroots’ films are making being watched more and more by the international audience.

Another international industry that was unknown to me before the lecture is that of Korean film and the ‘Korean Wave’. This wave was started in South Korea and is very popular within neighbouring Asian countries, as the films are very relatable to the Asian market. The popularity of Hallyu (The Korean Wave) has started to push out American media dominance in Asia and K-pop (Korean pop music) is becoming more widely known around the world. K-pop takes influence from Western culture and American pop music, it is becoming an increasingly globalized phenomenon and since the mid 2000’s, the K-Pop market has seen double-digit growth rates throughout the world.

Unlike Nollywood, the South Korean government supports K-pop as it has seen benefit in exporting this popular culture/media. The Korean Wave helped spread the Korean K-pop culture throughout the world and since it’s beginning in the 19th century the number of active fans in the three main fan clubs dedicated to Korean culture has surpassed 3 million.


Okome, O (2007). ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’ Postcolonial Text, 3.2, pp. 1-21.

Ryoo, W. (2009). Globalization, or the logic of cultural hybridization: the case of the Korean wave. Asian Journal of Communication, 19(2), 137-151.

Sacchi, Franco. ‘A Tour Of Nollywood, Nigeria’s Booming Film Industry’. Ted.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Sept. 2015.

Shim, D. ‘Hybridity And The Rise Of Korean Popular Culture In Asia’. Media, Culture & Society 28.1 (2006): 25-44. Web.

This is Nollywood, ‘About Nollywood’, 2015. Web.


INTERNATIONNALISING EDUCATION

Whether you want to believe it or not, education is a global industry. Internationalizing education within Australia as well as throughout the world opens up the international workforce and helps individuals to better understand global issues. The English language is global, it is the official language of 65 countries throughout the world and of these, 35 have made it their sole language (ProEnglish, 2015). The internationalization of universities within Australia has relied on the increased practice of the English language in higher education throughout the world. For international students, being proficient in the language is the link between them and successfully navigating their way through their time in Australia as well as improving their well-being whilst studying here.

International students must not only adapt to a new educational environment but must also adapt to an often totally different cultural and social environment. This is often hard for international students living in Australia, as there are many cultural and social norms that are often not practiced in other countries. An example of this is the Australian ‘pub culture’ and the use of colloquialisms and slang in everyday dialogue. This often isolates the international student as they spend years learning how to speak ‘proper’, ‘textbook’ English then arrive to find there are a lot of differences in pronunciation and often a lot of shortening of words and lazy, fast talking.

As well as feeling isolated by the language, international students often have difficulties dealing with problems that may come up in every day life, face financial hardship or become homesick and anxious when speaking with others or in a classroom full of other students and lecturers. In a study conducted by Monash University in 2005, 200 international students from over 30 different nations at 9 Australian institutions it was found that 130 (65%) of students interviewed had at one point of their study program felt loneness or isolation.

“If I knew that I would be so isolated, maybe I would not have come.” – Mentioned by many of the 130 students.

This sense of loneliness and isolation can cause international students to lose their motivation to study as well as be disappointed by their experience and their expectations of living in Australia. On the other hand, where students feel they have a strong sense of support from their hosting universities and their peers they remain confident and motivated especially during periods of high stress. A good support network helps to student remain in control of their emotions as it is not unlikely there will still be feelings of loneliness etc. but can be better cared for with a strong support network.

The internationalization of education within Australia is not all negative, many students don’t feel they experience a sense of loneliness or isolation as they either have a good network of students from their countries surrounding them or they are excited to explore and don’t want to rely on others to have the best experience.

“No loneliness, never. I love it here. I’m comfortable… I don’t have all eht social pressures… I have my life.” – Female arts student, 19, India

Moving to a different culture deprives the students of the social and emotional support system they feel they have at home and anxiety is a natural response to being somewhere foreign and unknown. Some students have a harder time adjusting whereas others find it easy to adapt to the Australian culture and find their experience more enriching.

The following is a clip from 2013 of international students commenting on why Australia is their international study destination of choice.


Kell, Peter, and Gillian Vogl. ‘International Students: Negotiating Life And Study In Australia Through Australian Englishes’. Everyday Multiculturalism Conference  Proceedings (2007), Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Sawir, E. et al. ‘Loneliness And International Students: An Australian Study’. Journal of Studies in International Education 12.2 (2007): 148-180. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.