International student involvement in Australian universities

  • Dean Preddy

    Student thesis: Professional Doctorate - CDU


    International education is the fourth largest export industry in the Australian economy contributing over $19 billion per year. In 2009, the much-publicised spate of attacks on international students in Sydney and Melbourne led to a rapid decline in student numbers, particularly Indian students. The main aim of this research was to provide practical strategies for Australian universities to reduce the rate of international student attrition in order to maximise their contribution to the economy.

    To achieve this aim, three objectives were identified. Firstly, to explain the differences in international students’ level of involvement in out-of-class activities by using Hofstede’s original cultural dimensions model. Secondly, to identify background information and characteristics that contribute to, or impact upon, international students’ level of involvement. Finally, to identify the impact different residential living environments have on the level of involvement of international students. These objectives led to the three research questions that guided this project. They were: (1) How do cultural dimensions influence international student involvement?; (2) Can we predict international student involvement in out-of-class activities using background information?; and (3) Are international students living in student residential communities more involved than international students living off-campus? 

    An online survey questionnaire collected primarily quantitative data from 251 participants across Australia and used three main concepts to identify and predict international students’ experiences while at Australian universities. Using Pearson’s correlation coefficient, one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Chi-Squared test and stepwise regression analysis, this research identified 16 major findings plus another 112 statistically significant relationships. These findings either supported previous findings or represented new contributions to the international education and business literature and social science more broadly.

    The practical recommendations this research project provides will be of interest to both institutional-level and government-level policy makers, academics, university support staff and tutors, and international students.
    Date of AwardOct 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRam Vemuri (Supervisor) & Gretchen Geng (Supervisor)

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