“Tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where people are becoming more and more closely interconnected.” —Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations once quoted.
It is acquiesce of these actions, which adds richness to a society and leads to a successful multicultural community. It is the hopeful future that Australia intends to adopt. As recently as the 23rd of March, Malcolm Turnbull redefined what it means to be part of a ‘Multicultural Australia” releasing the latest statement that determines “British and Irish settlers as being part of the makeup… not just ethnic minorities and indigenous people”. (Turnbull, 2017)
Yet it is actions that speak louder than words. Multiculturalism is a reality that requires; cultural competence, relativism and the eradication of ethnocentrism of many Australians. Unfortunately the tolerance of diversity within Australia is associated with great discourse, especially with misconceptions of international students divesting Australian students of the chance of a high-level of education.
However, we live in this ethnic heterogeneity everyday, and mustn’t disregard the plethora of mixed; backpackers, domestic tourists, asylum seekers, refugees, international tourists and students that now characterize our society. The statistics reveal that there were 480,092 international students in Australia in March 2017 – with 30 per cent of them from China, 11 per cent from India, and 4 per cent each from Malaysia, Vietnam and Nepal (The voice Of Australia’s Universities, 2017). With the main reason due to our successful and strong academic credentials as shown in the picture below…
Shouldn’t Australia accept this as a positive accolade? That these international students are willing to leave the comfort of their own home, family and friends to visit an unfamiliar country because of our friendly natives, high standard and rates of education and employment, and great cultural lifestyle.
Moreover, how can we not applaud them for the benefits they offer our society? These include:
- Creates high salary employment for well-qualified people in Australia. Which are vital roles for academic staff in our universities; maintaining jobs that we want to foster and grow.
- Friends and relatives are likely to visit students travelling back and forth to Australia several times e.g. for graduation. Hence resulting in an increased income for the country due to a growth in spending (more than $6.4 billion per annum).
- International students stimulate prolonged cooperation and global understanding between Australia and their country of origin. This prompts economic, social development and strengthens Australia’s regional status.
Nevertheless it is vital that we reinforce intercultural competency, which is developed through understanding and refers to how we perceive and react to cultural rules- not only those of others but also of our own.
We must also abstain any prejudice exertions of ethnocentrism unlike the 2011 SBS social experiment “Go Back To Where You Came From” participant Raquel Moore did, here in Video 1. Eventually altering her racial preconceptions, finally accepting “black” African people towards the end of her journey. She reflects cultural relativism as we then contrastingly view her in Video 2 embracing, whilst smiling and hugging the Masudi Family” living in the Kakusa Refugee Camp in Africa. This SBS Television documentary, directed by Ivan O’ Mahoney is highly suggested as is the perfect exemplification of overcoming “cultural shock”and establishing culture adaptation.
Otherwise if we perpetuate this ethnocentric behavior, Australia will be viewed as discriminative, causing major dissension when it comes to intercultural communication and understanding.
Australian Government (2017). 10 FACTS ABOUT STUDYING IN AUSTRALIA. [image] Available at: https://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/english/why-australia [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
Booktopia (n.d.). Go Back to Where You Came from DVD Cover. [image] Available at: https://www.booktopia.com.au/dvd-movies/go-back-to-where-you-came-from/prod9322225091917.html [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
Cameron, A. (2010). International students: in our best interests. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-11-10/international_students3a_in_our_best_interests/40900 [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
Chang, C. (2017). Changes redefine ‘multicultural Australia’. [online] NewsComAu. Available at: http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/three-changes-the-turnbull-government-has-made-to-australias-multicultural-statement/news-story/772da543dbda3650ccf9eba818747a61 [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
Dwyer, J. (2016). Communication For Business and the Professions: Strategies & Skills.Melbourne Vic, NSW, Pearson Australia.
SBSAustralia (2011). Go Back to Where You Came From-Raquel. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmbZLpddACA [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
SBSAustralia (2016). Go Back To Where You Came From Season 1: African Tutorial 3 | SBS Learn. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfYMWyBDvRo [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
T., S. (n.d.). The Importance and Benefits of Diversity. [online] Teenink.com. Available at: http://www.teenink.com/opinion/environment/article/465407/The-Importance-and-Benefits-of-Diversity/ [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
The voice of Australia’s Universities. (2017). AUSTRALIA’S INTERNATIONALL STUDENT NUMBERS CONTINUE TO GROW. [online] Available at: https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/Media-and-Events/media-releases/Australia-s-international-student-numbers-continue-to-grow#.WZysjs4xFE5 [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
YourDictionary. (n.d.). Examples of Ethnocentrism. [online] Available at: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-ethnocentrism.html [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].