Australia: The (Un)Lucky Country

Australia is constantly portrayed as the ‘lucky’ country; the country of the fair go, where no matter who you are or where you come from the same opportunities are your’s to take.

Unfortunately this is not the reality of the great country down under.

With just under 600,000 international students studying in Australia in 2014; tertiary and vocational education has become one of our largest and most profitable industries.

Australia boasts world-class education for these foreign individuals, but when coupled with promises of permanent visas, its seems that this dream might just be too good to be true.

Recently a Fairfax Media investigation unearthed the truly corrupted exploitation of international students seeking to enhance their skills with an Australian education.

TK Melbourne Education and Training Collage had allegedly provided fake qualifications to their international students; providing that they paid the thousands of dollars to acquire their necessary certificate.

The owners of the Saint Stephens Institute have also come under fire for falsifying documents, exploiting their students who were sub-contracted to Australia Post, and withholding pay in return for Australian visas.

The examples exemplify how the Australian education sector has failed these students that have left their lives behind in hopes of a brighter future. These educators seem to deem these individuals as lesser than themselves. They forget the struggle of self-formation that occurs when these mostly-young people arrive in a new culture that they must adapt themselves to.

When an international student arrives in their new country they must quickly adapt to the strange customs, beliefs and people of the foreign land. This requires the arduous process of survival, coping and uncertainty. The student can feel alone, homesick and depressed as they battle with the realities of living abroad. The most common issues that face these people include; lacking sufficient proficiency in English, which then leads to issues of communication with peers and teachers, which can cause lower grades at their place of education. But with time, effort and support these students can easily ingratiate themselves into the culture and lifestyle of their hist country. Once this is achieved, the student gains their final state of cultural plurality; where the traditions of their homeland meet the culture of their new lives.

Clearly the simple experience of a new country is profound enough to completely redefine these struggling individuals; who despite their inherent strength and determination evidenced in their brave decision to leave behind all they know for a strange new world, sometimes need extra support.

Yet how can one individual manage all of this self-altering experience when their education is nothing but a sham?

As the Immigration department slowly gains momentum on this growing issues, more and more vocational education facilities are being shut down; and while this is a good thing as the falsified educators are being diminishes, there still remains a gaping whole of easy-to-access and affordable education for these international students.

Thus it is our duty as inhabitants of the ‘lucky’ country to ensure that it remains lucky for everyone.


  • Australian Government Department of Education and Training 2014
  • Sydney Morning Herald National, Exploitation Fears as Students Pay for ‘Fake Skills’, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, 2015
  • Morphing a Profit-Making Business into an Intercultural Experience, International Education as Self-Formation, Simon Marginson, 2012
  • International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes, Peter Kell & Gillian Vogl, 2006

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