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International Students in Australia Market Research

Would-be international student’  perceptions of Australia aren’t what you might expect and suggest Michael Knight’s review won’t save the industry.

Ask any international education professional what the industry’s problems are, and the soaring Aussie dollar is likely to top the list. Australia’s price advantage has been erased since the days when the dollar ran two to the greenback and three to the pound.

The severing of the education-immigration nexus will also rank highly, as will Australia’s student visa arrangements. Welfare issues – especially around accommodation, employment and alienation – might also get a mention….

….But when you’ve got a product to flog, perception can mean more than reality. And a new report from a New York-based organisation suggests that for many potential Australian education customers, perception and reality are poles apart…

Associate Professor Alison Owens, acting director of the International Education Research Centre at CQUniversity, said the results could reflect cultural factors. “It’s an American-based institution trying to find out about itself,” she pointed out.

“When you ask people from polite cultures ‘who’s the best?’ they probably think if I say ‘you’, I’m going to have a more positive interview or even a chance of support.”

She said the responses about the cost of study in Australia could reflect the exchange rates of the time, and also the broader economic circumstances. “We have quite low unemployment and a lot of job availability – if you earn the dollar, it’s not so painful to spend the dollar.”

If the last vague comments reflect the management of the Australian education industry it explains a lot, i.e. Australia is obviously not very interested in conducting similar qualitative research…. scared of hearing things they do not want to hear…or statistics don’t talk back?

One thing that would be heard and many leaders in Australia admit that the welcome mat has been taken away and Australia is perceived to be racist….

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