Systematic peer support is required for international students to appeal to the IEAA.

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Intelligent Overseas Education News Update: Institutions in Australia and New Zealand should use systematic peer support for international students, encouraged by the IEAA.

A Trans-Tasman study, conducted in partnership with Education New Zealand, found that education providers did not appear to have the tremendous potential for making students offer peer support to other students.

The gap in institutional support allowed an outsized majority of Australia and New Zealand domestic students to become far more conscious of the problems faced by their international peers during the pandemic, particularly about practical hardships related to living far away from home and social isolation.

Around half the domestic students surveyed said they were concerned with the challenges faced by international students who became isolated during the pandemic.

The report revealed that indoor students were “highly regarded by the media and seemed to be little friends”.

“While we all know that education providers have actively involved in supporting foreign students in the most trying situations, home students do not seem to have learned much from international students’ experiences through their studies or other interactions with their institution,” the report said.

The study found that most of the most common types of support provided were learning support, peer support (e.g. friends schemes), social networking and support, including psychological support, learning support, and helping to obtain material support.

Included within the study were verbatim responses from domestic survey participants, showing a glimpse into how the ”peer to see support organically unfolded. ”I noticed the necessity to start a gaggle with friends, one said, others adding, ”I just offered assistance on my very own accord, ”With a lover who had psychological state issues, I helped them almost a day, including several crises”.

The responses present valuable insight into the lived experience of international students during isolation and the way domestic students were inspired to assist.

“Last year was very difficult for many people, especially Australian students abroad, who were among the most affected groups in the community,” admitted IEAA president Janelle Chapman.

“I am proud that the Voices expert research reflects the positive feelings our local students have of their international counterparts. I hope this research will inspire institutions to support and strengthen relationships between these partners.”

The report found that 82% of the 1,313 Australian citizens and 981 New Zealanders reported a change in attitudes towards the segregation and segregation of students in their respective countries. In comparison, 81% suggested that their gratitude for the challenges of students living away from home had changed.

During the Covid-19 epidemic, international students, such as local students, faced financial hardship, social isolation and uncertainty over long periods. However, the lack of family, friends and government support has turned international students into the most vulnerable groups in society.

While the research found that Australians have been successful in helping international students with resilience and practical advice, New Zealand students have focused more on improving social media.

“In New Zealand, we frequently mention the importance of the Māori value of manaakitanga – hospitality and generosity – when it involves hosting international students,” ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson said.

“I am pleased to find that local students are coming to showcase their poster. I am proud to say that the inclusive and welcoming New Zealand communities are still pillars of the student experience we offer to international students.”

Led by Rob Lawrence, Student Voices is a two-phase design, including interviews with key education stakeholders and government agencies and research conducted by 4,300 local and international students at 15 universities and five TAFE institutes in Australia and four New Zealand universities.

“This project is one that I have always felt particularly privileged to work on. The results open the way to look at how foreign students can enter college communities and feel more welcome and valued as their ‘local’ ‘colleagues,” Lawrence said.

As the international education sector looks to enter the post-epidemic recovery phase, this report demonstrates the readiness of local students to work with more international students.

It has highlighted the necessity to support greater ties between the domestic and international cohorts. It encourages institutions to think about more structured approaches to fostering peer-to-peer links to reinforce the scholar experience for both their international and domestic students.


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