International Students' Social Engagement and Social Well-being in an Australian Regional Area

By Yun Yue and Quynh Lê.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The extent of social engagement with the local community is closely related to international students’ socio-cultural and psychological well-being, but the relevant literature shows that most students have inadequate or poor engagement with the host society. This study, in the context of a university in an Australian regional area, examines various factors related to these students’ engagement with the local community and society. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected respectively by questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The findings show that cultural differences, inadequate language competency, intercultural understanding, religion, psychological worries, and racial discrimination are six salient barriers obstructing international students’ positive and effective social interaction. The limited contact with the local community is significantly associated with the international students’ negative emotions, including homesickness, loneliness, anxiety and depression; and demographic factors such as age and gender are not significantly related to their social engagement, but length of stay and English proficiency in the host country have a significant impact.

Keywords: Social Well-being, Racial Discrimination, Acculturation, International Students

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.119-132. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 318.156KB).

Dr. Yun Yue

PhD Graduate, Department of Rural Health, Launceston, TAS, Australia

Yun Yue has recently completed a PhD study at the University Department of Rural Health, Tasmania. Her research interest is physical health and psychological well-being related to international students in Australia. As a holder of a Master of Education, she is also interested in linguistic and TESOL issues.

Dr. Quynh Lê

Senior Lecturer, Department of Rural Health, Univeresity of Tasmania, Launceston, TAS, Australia