University of Sydney Careers Centre – enhancing international student employability

Daniel Laurence1, Anna Gurevich1

1Career Development Officers, Careers Centre, The University of Sydney

Since 2012, the Careers Centre at The University of Sydney has introduced a number of career workshops, events and programs to develop the employability skills of International Students.  These include a Career Development Program for International Students, an International Student Employability Forum for all disciplines and a panel on “Building your Networks in Australia and China”.  The Careers Centre has also participated in collaborative projects with other universities to deliver a program called Interchange which develops entrepreneurial skills and an International Student Employability Forum for students from all universities.  These career development activities are complemented by the provision of other Careers Centre services and online resources.  Since 2013, the Careers Centre has seen a significant increase in the number of international students attending Careers Centre’s workshops and events.


Biography:

Daniel Laurence is a Career Development Officer (International) at the University of Sydney Careers Centre. He has previous experience in adult education across 4 countries and since 2013 has been working with refugees, migrants and international students as a careers counsellor.

Anna Gurevich is a Career Development Officer (Programs) at the University of Sydney Careers Centre. With experience in Graduate and early career recruitment and Graduate Talent Management, Anna now works with tertiary students building employability skills through programs, workshops and one on one career coaching.

Under the radar: Report on the mental health of Australian university students

Vivienne Browne1, Jeremy Cass2*,

1 Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, 35 Poplar Road, Parkville, Victoria, 2052
2 RMIT Counselling Service, 124 LaTrobe Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000*

According to Australian and international research, university students are experiencing heightened psychological distress, in part due to academic and financial pressures, isolation, loneliness and poor self-care. The impact has been particularly felt across university counselling services, where increases in both service demand and severity and complexity of mental ill-health problems are putting significant strain on existing resources.

While Australian Government policy has driven increased participation and equity in higher education, little attention has been given to ensuring university settings respond effectively to risk factors and experiences of mental ill-health. Further, mental health and suicide prevention policies across all levels of government, have focused on providing support within primary and secondary school settings and largely ignored the role of tertiary education. This is despite the significant numbers of Australian young people who are engaged in these settings.

There remains contention about whether the core business of higher education delivery should extend to supporting student’s mental health and wellbeing outcomes. Regardless, universities across Australia have been independently developing policies and programs to respond to the myriad of mental health issues presenting on campus. Orygen’s Under the radar report calls for national leadership and guidance to support these efforts and work towards:

  • Articulating the reasonable expectations for universities to respond to mental health issues on campus and models for partnership with community mental health services.
  • Improving our understanding of these issues through research, data collection and monitoring.
  • Promoting evidence-based, appropriate and acceptable programs and interventions.

Biography:

Vivienne Browne is a Senior Policy Analyst at Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. Vivienne has worked for over 15 years in policy development, project management and program delivery for young people across government and the community sector.

The social language strategies of Saudi students in an ESL context

Mr Ahmed Alharbi1

1Institute of Public Administration, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

This study was designed to better understand the language-learning strategies that Saudi students employ in their English learning in Australia, as an English as a Second Language (ESL) context. Recognising the unique nature of Saudi society and the needs of Saudi students, sociocultural theory has been used as a theoretical frame to guide this research. However, the research of language-learning strategies originated from a cognitive theory that explored second language acquisition. The research therefore adopted a mixed-method approach and the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (Oxford, 1989) questionnaire was conducted to compare the Saudi students’ cohort use of language-learning strategies with previous research. The SILL results of this study indicated that the most common language-learning strategies used by the Saudi ESL students in this context were metacognitive, social, compensation, cognitive, affective and memory strategies. The qualitative results generated from the semi-structured interviews informed the quantitative findings, contextualised them and explained why some strategies are preferred to others. The interviews emphasised the role of the social strategies in this context and how they assisted the learners to adapt to the academic and social life in an Australian context. Implications arising include the role of gender for Saudi students, the classroom discourse and its importance for international students increasing the presence of digital technology in the student language-learning experience.


Biography:

I am a Ph.D. student in my last year of research. I have a Bachelor degree in English and Translation and a Master of Applied Linguistics for La Trobe University. I am interested in intercrural experiences of international students in their new contexts and how they manage living there. My passion in this area is driven by the personal experiences that I went through and my Saudi fellow. I saw that enriching the literature of these students will be important for the students and the staff as well.

Pregnant, parenting and a long way from home: International students in Victoria accessing public maternity, paediatric and early parenting care

Jane Middleton1

1PhD candidate, RMIT University and Social Worker, Mercy Hospital for Women

International students in Australia, while recognised for enriching the nation culturally and considered crucially important to the economy because of the revenue they generate, are ineligible for the national universal health scheme (Medicare) and must hold private Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) insurance as a condition of their visa. The stated purpose of OSHC is covering students for public health care to a similar level provided by Medicare for Australian citizens and permanent residents, with ‘no or minimal’ cost to Australian taxpayers. However, my practice experience as a public maternity hospital social worker suggests that the reality is often very different. Pregnant international students who need to obtain basic but essential public health care services- such as maternity or paediatric care- frequently find that they are not covered for their costs. This is the situation of hundreds of students in Victoria and around Australia each year- especially since 2011, when companies licenced to sell private health insurance to international students were permitted to introduce a 12-month waiting-period for pregnancy-related care. Even students who have completed the waiting-period can discover that ‘extras’, such as ultrasounds or medications recommended by their doctor or midwife, are not covered. Hospitals set their own fees and charges, and some require substantial ‘up-front’ payment before care is provided.

This qualitative study is the first social work practitioner research in Victoria aiming to improve the information, services and supports available to future international students.  A major focus of semi-structured interviews with women international students will be gaining insight into their challenges in accessing local public health services, and also the services and information they find most helpful.  Women’s recommendations for better care of future students will be sought, and then reported back to key ‘stakeholder’ agencies and professionals who provide support and information to international students.


Biography:

Jane Middleton is a PhD candidate at RMIT University. She has worked for many years as a social worker at one of Melbourne’s major public maternity hospitals – the Mercy Hospital for Women – including 13 years as Manager of the Social Work Department from 2003-2016. During this time Jane has developed a particular interest in the barriers experienced by socially vulnerable women in accessing public health care. She has worked with scores of women international students during pregnancy and after the birth of their babies.

Although international students in Australia are required to hold private health insurance, Jane’s practice experience is that many students encounter great difficulty when attempting to obtain necessary public health services for themselves and for their babies. This has provided the impetus for the qualitative research study she is now undertaking for her PhD thesis: Pregnant, parenting and a long way from home: international students in Victoria accessing public maternity, paediatric and early parenting care.

Jane has previously conducted and published qualitative research focussing on rural Aboriginal health workers’ perceptions of their clients’ needs when they are transferred to major metropolitan hospitals for specialist maternity and paediatric care.

International Students’ gateway to personal and academic success

Ms Anna Jenkins1

1La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia

Volunteering provides students and young people, with a valuable gateway into future paid employment; the development of leadership potential, organisational and networking skills can often lead to a successful transition into the workforce upon the completion of their studies.

In addition to these important and valuable employability outcomes, volunteering has a number of additional benefits, particularly for International students. Volunteering, both on-campus within the University structures, but importantly externally, can contribute greatly to increasing a student’s connections with their host community, can contribute to their own community upon return, and has real benefits for a student’s resilience, and wellbeing, thus helping to contribute to more successful academic and other outcomes.

A much underestimated benefit that volunteering provides to international students are psychosocial benefits, building personal resilience, and greater connectedness and positive experiences for international students. Positive social experiences for International students builds confidence, wellbeing and resilience, enabling them to form personal relationships with their immediate community members, and thereby increase their support network, and builds their own internal coping mechanisms, helping them deal with everyday work and study and personal stressors.

Volunteering external to the student’s university provides students with an opportunity to contribute, in a meaningful way, to the host community, which they are living in. Often, International student are siloed, highly involved and active within their student community, but rarely connecting with their host community, and engaging with the “Australian” culture and its people.

Drawing on examples from La Trobe University’s volunteer International Host program and Volunteering program, as well as student feedback and testimonials, I will discuss the benefits that volunteering brings to connecting international students with the wider community, ensuring that their social, cultural needs met, building social networks, creating cross cultural connections, and enhancing the student’s successful outcomes, both inside and outside the classroom


Biography:

Anna Jenkins is a qualified Social Worker, and has worked with non-English speaking, migrant, vulnerable youth, and refugee communities, in the community and not-for profit sector, both within Australia and overseas for over 16 years, prior to joining the International student Services team at La Trobe University in 2015.

She worked with the Australian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross, from 2001 to 2015, including coordinating, training and recruiting volunteers in one of the largest internationally recognised volunteer organisations in the world.

Anna has a passion for community development, social justice and assisting and supporting vulnerable migrants.

Great education agents lead to a great start to overseas study

Mrs Emilia Fields1

1Whitefriars College, Donvale, Australia

A great start to an overseas education of a student begins with the professionalism of an education agency. The knowledge and passion shown by agents regarding  overseas study can make a major difference on the students’ readiness to achieve and embrace a new culture.

The orientation and preparation of students by a good agent is pivotal in the emotional, academic and educational journey of  the students. The session will aim to explore the following areas to achieve these goals:

  1. Understanding student motivation and objectives for studying abroad
  2. Listening to student and families and creating a profile of what they are looking for
  3. A comparative and sound knowledge of schools requested by student and those introduced by agents
  4. Aspects of leaving and learning culture of country proposed by students for overseas study
  5. Explanation of official requirements regarding Visa and entry into the country
  6. Different education courses and assessment methods used in different schools
  7. Various accommodation options and welfare requirements
  8. The importance of the education agent as an integral partner in the education journey of the student

Biography:

Emilia is the Director of the International Student Program at Whitefriars College, Melbourne Australia.  She has been in education all her life and is very passionate about the Integration and Globalisation of students.  She has been Head of School, University Lecturer and has taught students from Preparatory to University level. She is the President of VISION International, the Non- Government school representative to the Ministerial Roundtable and a member of the Victorian International Student Group. She is the current recipient of two prestigious Global Awards:“Business Woman of the Year 2016”-  CV Global Magazine-UK and “Executive of the Year/Education Industry Australia” – Business Worldwide CEO Awards 2017

The Deakin student mentor community of practice: Belonging, confidence, connectedness and wellbeing

Ms Dawn Jones1, Ms Kate  Artz1

1Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

During 2016-2017, the REACT initiative (Realising Engagement through Active Culture Transformation) has been investigating student engagement across fifteen universities in the UK. A core focus has been on collaboration, co-creation and co-development as pillars of the student voice and of students as change agents. Such is the context and inspiration for the establishment in 2017 of the Deakin Student Mentor Community of Practice which also aims to enhance leadership capabilities and provide a space for the mentoring community to learn together and exchange local expertise. This presentation will explore the evolution of the community of practice for student mentors across the university and its relationship with and contribution to the Students Helping Students Community of Practice for peer support co-ordinators. Informed by the work of Etienne Wenger-Trayner and Beverly Wenger-Trayner the presentation will illustrate how the community of practice approach is an ideal vehicle to support not just student engagement but also the development of agency, courage, confidence and grit. Leadership will be explored as a learning concept, an unfolding and a loosening that is nurtured by a commitment to listening and to a willingness to be heard. With the Wenger-Trayner Myths about Communities of Practice in mind, the need for training, monitoring and support for mentors will be discussed, as will approaches for appropriate reward and recognition of mentors’ work. The role of the facilitator, rights and responsibilities, and the level of autonomy of the mentors will also be considered as steps on the path to the integration of academic, social, practical and personal peer support into the mainstream university culture.


Biography:

Dawn Jones is the Team Leader,  Peer Support (Student Academic and Peer Support Services, Division of Student Life) and Kate Artz is the Coordinator of the Students Helping Students Hub at Deakin University. Together they established the Deakin Student Mentor Community of Practice and also facilitate the Students Helping Students Community of Practice which brings together all the peer support programs (academic, social and practical) from across the university and supports them to support each other. They are responsible for the Coordinator Development Program which provides training and professional development for the peer support coordinators. With their immediate team in the Division of Student Life they run PASS, Maths Mentors, Success Coaches and the Students Helping Students Hub Mentors.

Study abroad and student success: What’s the connection?

Ms Rebecca Cozens1, Dr Amanda Daly2, Dr Matthew Xerri1

1Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia, 2Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

‘Student success’ and ‘study abroad’ are two terms which are not often associated with each other. Yet, in an environment of strained resources, many Australian institutions seek to benefit from utilising study abroad programs as a means of encouraging student success for both domestic and international students. Nationwide, institutions have developed strategies to increase student retention and academic success. In parallel, many have also created goals to increase participation in study abroad programs in an effort to internationalise the curriculum and create globally competent graduates. However, despite these efforts, little evidence exists to show the relationship between student success and study abroad and, furthermore, whether the relationship acts as a facilitator or barrier for each institution in achieving its goals. With this in mind, this presentation will introduce preliminary findings in innovative Australian-centred research and will propose a model to highlight the potential ways in which mobility offices may collaborate with faculties and student success staff to develop an integrated approach to actively engage and retain students through participation in study abroad experiences. Through exploring the transformative outcomes of study abroad programs, delegates will understand the similarities to the critical factors and determinants of student success.


Biography:

Rebecca has spent eight years working in international higher education, particularly in global mobility. After several years with a focus on inbound study abroad and exchange programs, Rebecca now coordinates all outbound mobility programs at Griffith University. Rebecca completed a Bachelor of Business at QUT and is currently undertaking Honours research at Griffith University, examining the relationship between mobility and student retention at Australian universities.

Challenges and issues related to counselling referral in higher education – the professors’ perspectives

Mr Steven Ng Poh Yaip1, Miss Ada Chung Yee Lin2

1Singapore Management University, stevenng@smu.edu.sg , Singapore, Singapore, 2Singapore Management University, adachung@smu.edu.sg, Singapore, Singapore

This phenomenological study analyses the perspectives of professors towards issues related to counselling during their course of work.  It seeks to understand the challenges and difficulties faced by teaching faculty staff with university students in Singapore who might require counselling referral and help.  As an academic teaching staff, the Professor is as an important stakeholder in the counselling referral process with the impact to affect the students’ learning and potential in a holistic manner.

12 thematic factors were derived from the results.  Implications arising from the findings, as well as future research possibilities and recommendations to improve the overall counselling process, and ways to ensure collaborative efforts amongst various university department groups were discussed to provide leaders, policy planners, administrators, educators and counselling practitioners with new insights and considerations for future implementation.


Biography:

Steven Ng is a full-time counsellor with Singapore Management University and a member of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee Board.  He received his teacher training from National Institute of Education, Singapore and possess a Master In Counselling from Monash University.  He is a trained Crisis Responder with National Organisation for Victim Assistance (USA), certified Stress Management Consultant with Institute of Motivational Living (USA) and Job Career Development Coach with Career Planning and Adult Development Network (USA).  Having worked in social service and mental health sector for more than a decade, his working experience focused on education, special needs and counselling.

New Colombo Plan: Australians as international students in Asia and their cross-cultural learning

A/Prof. Ly Tran1

1Deakin University, Vermont, Australia

The latest figure from the Australian University Directors’ Forum, AUIDF, (2016) shows that the number of Australian students participating in learning abroad increased more than six fold over the last 10 years, from 6000 in 2005 to 38,144 in 2015. Almost one out of five Australian students undertook learning abroad during their undergraduate study in 2015 (AUIDF, 2016). The New Colombo Plan program established in 2014 represents the Australian government’s signature initiative of not only student mobility but importantly public diplomacy. This important mobility program has contributed to the recent remarkable growth of Australia’s outbound mobility to Asia, bringing the number of Australian students funded by the NCP to the Indo Pacific to more than 10,000 by 2016. However up to date, there has been insufficient empirical data about the cross-cultural development and other forms of learning Australian students are engaged in Asia through the New Colombo Plan. This paper aims to fill out this critical gap. It draws on empirical data from a research project that includes policy discourse analysis and more than 50 interviews with academics, mobility officers and Australian students undertaking study abroad in Asia. The presentation addresses the diverse forms of learning including intended and incidental learning, authentic, formal and informal learning as well as individual and collective learning in which the New Colombo Plan participants are engaged. Using Bourdieu’s concepts of capital and habitus to interpret Australian students’ learning in Asia, it analyses to what extent Asia as a geographical, social, cultural and educational space can help to transform Australian students’ cross-cultural understanding, their capacity to pursue a meaningful professional life and their potential to act as actors of public diplomacy with regard to Australia’s connection with Asia. The presentation draws on Harvard University’s Visible Thinking Approach to engage the audience in exploring Australian students’ learning and cross-cultural development in Asia via the New Colombo Plan.


Biography:

Dr Ly Thi Tran is an Associate Professor in the School of Education, Deakin University, Australia. Her research focuses on student mobility including the New Colombo Plan and the teaching, learning and wellbeing of international students across the school, VET and HE sectors. Ly has been awarded three grants on international student mobility and staff professional development in international education from the Australian Research Council. She has published widely in the field of international education and is frequently invited to speak at a wide range of conferences, symposiums and workshops on student mobility and the teaching and learning of international students. Ly’s book, ‘Teaching international students in vocational education: New pedagogical approaches’, won the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) Excellence Award for Best Practice/Innovation in International Education.

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ANZSSA

The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by anzssa.com.

ISANA

ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at www.isana.org.au.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.