The number of international students who have been victims of crime such as physical assault and theft is growing at an alarming rate in Australia.
This unfair treatment of international students does not occur in society alone. On the contrary, these students face discrimination in the in the education system as well.
One form of unfair treatment that international students face is related to tuition fees. Notably, unlike their local counterparts, international students are required to more that can go as high as four times what Australian students pay. According to Jack He, the Student Government leader, “The amount of tuition fees that foreign students pay in Australia in one year can pay tuition fees for Australian student for four years.”
Discrimination of international students with respect to tuition fees also extend to accessibility of financial help. Whereas local students can apply for loans, foreign students are denied such financial facilities. According to He, “Local students who face financial challenges can apply for loans, which helps them to study without any form of interruption. Such credit facilities are not available to foreign students, thus increasing their chances of dropping out from college or university because of limited finances.”
Similarly, whereas the government of Australia has created a platform for local students to access discounts when travelling around through the Opal Card, foreign students are denied such facilities. “We cannot visit places such as museums and national parks because of the high cost of travelling to these place”, He noted in frustration. This means that most international students are unable to travel more within Australia. Therefore, their chances of learning more about Australia and its culture are low.
The financial challenges of international students are further worsened by the fact that most of them cannot find jobs after completing their college or university studies. In his opinion, Jack He argues that there are no social welfare programs for foreign students in Australia to help them access the job market. He reiterates, “There are no social welfare programs for international students. It is hard for them to find jobs in Australia after the graduation.” Most of these students are thus forced to work on low-skilled jobs or go back to their countries. This is unlike their local counterparts, who easily find jobs and as such, can pursue higher education since they can afford it.