Between The Flags! From Local Dangers to Global Risks for International Students

  • Peter Kell
  • Gillian Vogl
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 17)


This chapter explores the interaction between the local experiences of the international students and the global dimensions of these often bad local experiences in Australia. This chapter, in exploring the experience of Asian students in Australia, provides a compelling analysis of the challenges in developing relationships involving Australia with its Asian neighbours. The chapter opens by documenting aspects of risk for students in Australia including major incidents such as the Cronulla riots in 2005, the murder of foreign students in the UK and Australia and a spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia in 2009. The chapter situates the possibilities for misadventure against the backdrop of the beach culture of Australia and explores how, for the foreigner, the cultural and natural setting can be both exhilarating and perilous. The seductive allure of the beach disguises the dangerous qualities that have taken lives and created the cultural environment that has spawned race riots. The impact of harassment and attacks and the ambiguous reaction of university official and police forces is documented and discussed against high-level diplomatic intervention by China and India whose students have been the victims of persistent racial attacks. The dilemmas for the Australian branding and the impact on the reputation of Australia as a safe destination are described in detail from media sources and illustrate the complex interrelationships between the global and the local as these events escalated into diplomatic incident in 2009/2010. The chapter also highlights the contradictions around identifying international students as a ‘problem’ when their contribution to the community economically, socially and educationally is underestimated and their own safety is in jeopardy. The chapter concludes that binaries that are constructed between so-called supporters of international education and their opponents are a limited notion that does not describe the complexity of reactions and responses within the communities nor adequately provides solutions to the issues confronted in earlier chapter.


International Student Chinese Student Foreign Student Australian Government Asian Student 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Kell
    • 1
  • Gillian Vogl
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationCharles Darwin UniversityCasuarinaAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Research on Social InclusionMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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