In enlightened and civilised societies we like to think that the blatantly racist eugenics movement that involved social selection based upon genetic traits is a disgraceful notion relegated to the past; but it seems not, it has just re-emerged in another form through the back door. It is an interesting question as to why social class continues to remain such a verboten topic, and to understand why we need to get inside what is going on. I can get to the essence of my argument quickly through an example from a university colleague: ‘This is bullshit,’ the student muttered under her breath. The tutorial topic assigned for that week was class. I’d kicked things off by asking whether class existed in modern Australia, or whether it was a relic of nineteenth century Europe. Struck by the student’s response, I asked her to elaborate. She did: Look, I went to private school and my Dad’s a CEO and most of his friends are business people. So I guess that’s supposed to make me upper class? But class has nothing to do with it. Going to a private school was my parents’ decision. And my Dad’s friends are just his friends. I suggested that the choice of school – not to mention the capacity to affordthe fees – and her father’s friendship network might have been heavily shaped by their class position. That wasn’t to say there was anything wrong with it, but it did show how our lives are shaped by larger social and economic forces we don’t control. The student was having none of it. It was clear that she’d encountered the notion of class before and found it singularly unconvincing. In her world, everything was simply a matter of individual choice – choices that were unconstrained … [and while] she didn’t actually say it, … class seemed to be an excuse for people who made the wrong choices in life. (Scanlon 2014)
This paper explores the influence of home country academic culture on the performance of international students in their studies. The focus was on Indian international students studying business courses in an Australian regional university because 61% of its students are international and majority of them come from India. The paper describes a pilot study employing a narrative inquiry approach to provide a better understanding of international students' academic culture. Three main academic cultural gaps were identified from the students' narratives: (1) annual teaching versus semester teaching scheme; (2) lack of familiarity with writing assignments; and (3) lack of familiarity with the Australian accent.