Students at home instead of away


There’s not just a bunch of internationals students who want to get into Australia – there’s a mob of locals who used to get out

 They certainly did before COVID-19 closed the country. According to the Australian Universities International Directors Forum, 58 000 students took an abroad experience in 2019, up 11.3 per cent on 2018.

In 2019, nearly one in four Australian undergraduates from the 34 universities in the study took a gap year (or longer) from a range of 156 countries.

The top three experiences were faculty-led study tours (22 per cent), internships/placements (20 per cent) and programmes at a host university (16 per cent).

The survey, conducted since 2005, demonstrates changes in where students chose to go, with growing numbers visiting Asia-Pacific nations under the New Colombo Plan.

In 2018, 49 per cent had their “learning abroad” experience in Indo-Pacific nations, followed by China (15 per cent), the US (9 per cent) and UK (8 per cent)

But not in 2020 and this year students can participate in a “virtual” New Colombo Plan programme, “which will maintain the momentum of the NCP (and) encourage increased diversity and participation by students for whom international travel presents challenges,” DFAT optimistically announces.

A couple of years back the big study abroad story was the growth in student numbers and the great achievement that was the NCP.

Now, not so much, whoever is operating the chair lift at Whistler, pulling beers at a London pub or on an Asia study-tour, it isn’t Australian students.

Also in CMM today, Lyi Thi Tran (Deakin U) and colleagues on outcomes for NCP alumni

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent