International students do not apply to foreign universities to receive an education. It also allows them to work on their personality as they venture out into a foreign land and become more independent. Moreover, it allows them to land better, high-paying jobs that might not be available in their home country. The number of Chinese student enrolments skyrocketed in 2019 where around 2,60,000 international students from China joined Australian Universities. The university seats in China are limited, and hence, Chinese Students look for options overseas. However, Australian international borders have not opened for international students yet. Out of the international students who are enrolled in Australian Universities, around 20% cannot come back to the country. The Chinese community is a large part of it as approximately 70% of Australia’s Chinese International students are stranded outside the country. Online education brings in a financial strain on them and is pushing them towards a mental breakdown as well. Read on to know more about it.
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Dealing with a wide range of issues
While the Chinese international students might receive their degrees, they have to face tons of issues in their home country. The Australian Government is yet to decide a time-frame for bringing back the international students. With a lot of uncertainty regarding their future, the Chinese students are clueless about their next step.
Most of them have to deal with a lot of shame and guilt. The people in their local community are often seen mocking them about their uncertain future. The parents are unwilling to pay the tuition fees because they want their children to study in China. While some are being asked to prepare for local universities, others face a lot of financial crisis. The tuition in Australian Universities is vast, and some students have to sell off their property to pay the loan.
As the borders are still closed, the parents are putting a lot of pressure on them to give up their dreams. For many students, enrolling themselves in a foreign university was an opportunity to escape their current condition. Many Chinese students joined Australian Universities to experience an alternate way of learning and a different way of living.
Many of these students feel low as their peers in China have already moved ahead with their degrees. While China’s situation regarding the covid-19 pandemic is coming under control, things are not the same in Australia.
Things are extremely difficult for Chinese female students. A study conducted by the University of Melbourne suggested that foreign education helped several Chinese women to delay their marriage by a couple of years. The study also suggested that studying abroad led female Chinese students to develop a sense of individualism and work on themselves. These students’ inability to travel back to Australia is causing them a lot of emotional trauma and damaging their relationship with their parents.
Growing concerns over racism
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, Chinese International students are facing several issues. But the most critical one out of them is racism. Chinese students are being attacked viciously in several parts of Australia. There have been several reports of both verbal and physical abuse faced by these students. Often, they are called using racist slurs such as ‘chiggas.’
On 12th January 2021, one such incident was reported. A female Chinese international student was thrashed and verbally abused by six Australians in Sydney. The very next day, there was another incident that involved a Chinese student. The student, who is completing his post-graduation degree at Monash University, was beaten up by an unidentified man. The consequences were severe as it leads to nose cartilage damage in the former. A few days later, on 14th January, another Chinese student was attacked by a few Australians in the Canberra bus-stop. The Australian National University student has a damaged jaw and right cheek along with multiple abrasions.
These are just a few examples of how racial tension is continuously increasing in Australia. This has made Chinese international students’ lives even more unbearable as their parents are unwilling to send them to Australian Universities.
Chinese government issues order
The Chinese Ministry of Education has repeatedly been issuing alerts that warn Chinese International students to make them aware of the ‘serious threats’ of studying in Australia. The first alert was issued in June 2020. The most recent one was issued in February 2021, which pointed out the vicious attacks on Chinese students all over Australia.
Another reason for issuing alerts is that the covid-19 pandemic as traveling makes them more susceptible to catching the virus. The students need to conduct ‘safety assessments’ and choose whether they want to continue their education in Australia or not. The alert also puts forward the strained relationship between China and Australia at the moment.
The relations between the two countries started getting bitter last year when Canberra proposed an independent and international inquiry about the origins of the covid-19 virus in Bejing. China has put several restrictions on Australian exports such as beef and wine. Experts suggest that this is an attempt to show economic retaliation. Australian Government has followed its steps through Canberra’s policy to keep out Chinese technology giants from the Australian Market.
Even though Scott Morrison has verbally expressed his keenness on solving the issues between the two countries verbally, it might not work out. According to the experts, things are supposed to worsen in the coming year between the two countries.
The Australian Department for Education has provided data which indicated that at least 20% of its international students are from China. Yin Kai, secretary-general of the overseas study service branch of ‘China Education Association for International Exchange’ (CEAIE), has said that the Australian Market was the first choice for several Chinese students till 2019-2020. The programs in the country as cost-effective, which makes them a lucrative option for the students. However, Yin Kai has asked the students to continuously update themselves about the latest news on racial tension in the country and make their decision after scrutiny.
The ones who are suffering the most are the Chinese International students of Australian Universities. While most of them are planning to stay back in China, many look for other options in the UK and the US.