Reflective Essay: Summary of the Weekly Discussion
- English as the Main Tool for Global Communication
English is considered as the main tool for communication in the global world. Most channels of communication taking place in the international environment are spoken in English. English is convenient and has proven to be a valuable asset for people conducting businesses in the international markets. English allows people to understand each other and increases competitiveness of business in the global market. According to Neely (2012), it is essential for companies to overcome language barriers in order to be successful in the global economy and English has contributed towards breaking language barrier. The importance of English in global communication has prompted most non-English speaking countries such as Japan, China and Korea to generate efforts towards learning English.
- Contribution as a Global Citizen in the Globalized Society
A global citizen can contribute to globalized society by developing familiarity to facilitate advancement of values in the global environment. Examples of values that are important in the global environment include religious pluralism, sustainable worldwide economic growth, human rights, prevention of conflicts between countries, humanitarian assistance, environmental protection, gender equity, poverty alleviation, preservation of cultural diverts and elimination of weapons of mass destruction (Israel, 2012). A global citizen can promote these values by engaging in volunteer work in various organizations. Additionally, a global citizen can utilize the technology such as the internet to promote growth by challenging the local government to become proactive in achieving global standards on different areas including human rights, poverty and development (Birdsall, 2013).
- Major Challenges for International or Home Students in Forming Intercultural Relationships
Cultural shock is a major challenge for students in forming intercultural friendship. When people from diverse cultural background are immersed in an unfamiliar environment, they tend to experience stress adapting to the new setting (Knapp and Daly, 2011). Perception bias is another challenge that hinders development of intercultural friendship. The existing opinion about a specific race or culture can create positive or negative ideas about a particular individual or group of people. Bias causes people or individuals from a specific group to be associated with specific characteristics and descriptions, which creates misunderstanding thus affecting the ability of people to effectively connect with others. People’s attitudes towards others constrain formation of friendship. Conflicting ideas and perspective such as political ideals or religious beliefs causes people to be cautious about others thus affecting their ability to form relationship (Sorrells, 2015).
- The Problem of Students Feelings of Isolation
- Although internationalization of higher education has played significant role in facilitating intercultural experience, campus-based university also promotes development of feelings of isolation in students. International students always experience limited interaction due to language barriers causing universities to be potentially isolating international students (Schweisfurth & Gu, 2009).
- The internet has become an important tool for communication in the digital world. The use of internet such as social media and social networking services has provided people with the opportunity to communicate with friends, family and acquaintances. Therefore, the internet is a great tool of communication that keeps people connected causing people to feel less isolated.
- Factors that Hinder International Students from Develop their Spoken English
- Most international students studying in Australia often have the desire to develop their spoken English. Therefore, in efforts to improve their spoken English, these international students seek employment in the country. However, most of them end up being employed by employers who share the same language. This therefore limits their opportunity to improve on their spoken English. This has been witnessed among many international students in La Trobe University in Australia (Yates & Wahid, 2014).
- Employment in Australia can help international students improve their spoken English and increase their cultural competence. Employment exposes international students to context that is largely based on English language thus the interaction with other employees helps them learn and improve their language. Additionally, employment in Australia helps international students develop cultural competence by interacting with employees from different cultural backgrounds (Schweisfurth & Gu, 2009).
- Important Aspects to Know about Internationalization of the Curriculum
Internationalization of the curriculum acts as a medium for transforming coursework and engaging co-curricular activities. It facilitates creation of interconnection and peace in the world and makes it easy for students to adapt (Ninnes & Hellstén, 2005). It is important to know the various measures that the academic community have put in place to enhance success of the curriculum. Additionally, it is essential to determine the positive benefits that have been generated by internationalization of the curriculum. Moreover, it is important to have knowledge on the measures that professors at La Trobe University are taking to attract other universities into adopting the international curriculum. Consequently, it is also important to know the processes of studying abroad with the introduction of internalized curriculum (Ninnes & Hellstén, 2005).
I conducted interviews on different people about the concept of global citizenship and intercultural communication. The interviews have provided me with insights on the concept of global citizenship and intercultural communication. Global citizenship involves the self-understanding by people about their roles and responsibilities as part of global community. I have learnt that global citizenship is a significant aspect in the global environment and this has made me desire to become a global citizen. The concept of global citizenship has provided me with the understanding that to be a global citizen, I need to learn English language, which is a universal language, develop intercultural relationship, demonstrate commitment and showcase activism to achieve the goals of the international standards.
I have learnt that English is a significant tool for communication in the global environment. It bridges the existing differences and barriers in the international community. The use of English is widespread and this is seen in various channels of communication in the international environment. I have learnt that English is a valuable asset in business people that helps them to be successful in the competitive global market. According to Neely (2012), for companies to be successful in the global economy, they must overcome language barriers. I have also gained understanding of why English is a preferred language of communication in the global community. English has promoted understanding among people in the global environment. I have understood that the ability to use English language enhances understanding among people and also allows them to have knowledge on the benefits of English language. Most non-English speaking countries such as China have identified the significance of English language in the local and global environments and thus they are focused in learning its application and usage. Therefore, it is clear that a global citizen must have the ability to speak and write using English language to promote growth and people’s interests.
The thought about the concept of global citizen has occurred to me in a number of instances. For instance, having knowledge on globalization and the increasing significance of relevant international agencies and institutions such as the United Nations has provided me with ideas on ways that I can take part in these activities and promote development. I have learnt that for me to be an active global citizen in future, I must demonstrate commitment through displaying activism in advancing the values that are significant in the global environment. I can show my support and assistance in advancing the values of global environment through volunteer work and engaging myself in various organizations that focus on promoting different interests. Additionally, as a global citizen, I have learnt that I can showcase my activism through use of existing and emerging technologies as a medium for promoting growth in the global environment. According to Birdsall (2013), the internet provides people with bigger opportunities to make and obtain demands from powerful authorities in the global environment.
The interviews provided me with insights on the significance of forming intercultural friendships among students in campus-based universities. However, I learnt that most of the international and home students’ experience challenges in forming intercultural friendship. From the interviews, I was able to learn that cultural shock, people attitudes and perception bias are the major challenges that hinder students from forming relationship effectively. Knapp & Daly (2011) states that, cultural shock occurs when students from different cultural backgrounds are exposed to unfamiliar environment in which they are supposed to adapt to the new settings. I believe that cultural shock impedes cultural relationships because most students will be reluctant to go out of their comfort zones and interact with people from a different culture. People tend to relate with others from the same culture or racial background and this is widely experienced at the La Trobe University. I have learnt that perception bias emanates from the stereotyping ideas about a specific group or individuals, where these groups or individuals are labeled with specific characteristics. The stereotypic ideas lead to creation of misunderstandings where people fail to understand the cultural differences of other groups. Therefore, people will tend to operate based on their beliefs and views and this affects their ability to form intercultural relationships. Consequently, I have learnt that people’s attitudes towards others have hindered formation of intercultural friendship. According to Sorrells (2015), people from diverse cultural background have different perspective and ideas which conflict with those of other people. From the interviewees’ opinion, it is evident that people with this attitude are often ethnocentric therefore; they do not recognize the importance of diversity and multiculturalism, hindering formation of intercultural relationships.
I have also learnt that the internationalization of higher education can cause international students to feel isolated. The aim of internationalization of higher education is to promote intercultural experience and allow international students to develop ways of expressing themselves in order to fulfill their different needs. It is evident that although campus-based university such as La Trobe provides convenient to students, it is potentially isolating because of the limited interaction between local and international students. I have understood that most international students have language challenges and this limits their opportunity to speak in class and interact with others. Therefore, lack of English proficiency causes Universities such as La Trobe to be potentially isolating for international students.
Internet has become an increasing important tool for communication in this digital age. I am an active user of the internet because its helps me to stay connected with friends and acquaintances. I use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype to get in touch with my friends and acquaintances. I also use social networking services (SNS) to get most of news on current happening in the global environment. Therefore, the internet has remained an important tool that I use for communicating and constantly interacting with friends through social media therefore, it does not make me feel isolated. I believe that the internet would be an effective tool for making international students feels less isolated.
I understand that many international students in Australia often have the desire to improve on their spoken English. Therefore to achieve this, most of them tend to seek employment so that they can interact with employees in larger context and be able to learn English. However, most of them are hindered by some circumstances. For instance, some of them end up being employed by employers who speak the same language. Additionally, some are employed in workplaces that require the use of the prescribed formulaic language only. Moreover, others end up working in a multilingual environment and this provides them with little opportunity to improve their spoken English language. I have met a number of international students at La Trobe University who seek part time employment to avoid being isolated but they fail to achieve their goals due to these factors.
I believe that employment in Australia can assist me in developing my English skills and intercultural competence. Elimination of barriers at workplaces can make international students develop their English language. Therefore, I recommend international students to be proactive in seeking employment to improve their spoken English. Employment subjects people to a larger context that is based on English and thus will allow international students to learn spoken English quickly and be able to interact with other students effectively. Additionally, employment will allow international students to interact and connect with employees from multicultural backgrounds thereby improving their cultural competence.
Birdsall, N. (2013). Global Citizens on the Rise. Center for Global Development. Retrieved from
Israel, R.C. (2012). What does it mean to be a global citizen? Kosmos Journal Retrieved from
Knapp, M.L. and Daly, J.A. (2011). The SAGE Handbook of Interpersonal Communication. US:
Neeley, T. (2012). Global Business Speaks English. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from
Ninnes, P., &Hellstén, M. (2005). Internationalizing higher education: Critical explorations of pedagogy and policy. Dordrecht: Springer.
Schweisfurth, M., &Gu, Q. (2009). Exploring the Experiences of International Students in UK Higher Education: Possibilities and Limits of Interculturality in University Life. Intercultural Education, 20(5), 463-473.
Sorrells, K. (2015). Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice. US: SAGE \
Yates, L., & Wahid, R. (2013). Challenges to Brand Australia: International Students and the Problem with Speaking. Higher Education Research and Development, 32(6), 1037-1050.
Q1- Do you see English as only a ‘tool’ for global communication? Why or why not?
Q2- Have you considered how you might contribute as a ‘global citizen’ in a ‘globalised society’? In what ways could you see yourself doing that in future?
Q3 -In your opinion, what could be the main challenges for students, international and/or ‘home’ students, forming intercultural friendships e.g. at La Trobe University?
Q4-Regarding the problem of students’ feelings of isolation,
- a) Do you feel that a campus-based university, such as La Trobe University, is like a ‘bubble’: a place for living, studying, socialising and perhaps working, convenient but potentially isolating (Schweisfurth&Gu, 2009)?
- b) How important is the Internet for you as a tool of communication? Would you say it ultimately causes you to feel, or be, more/less isolated?
5-Many international students hope to develop their spoken English whilst they are studying in Australia. To do so, some students seek employment but then find themselves a) working for employers who speak their L1 b) using only prescribed, formulaic language e.g. for sales or c) working in a multilingual environment with little opportunity to improve their spoken English (Yates & Wahid, 2013, pp.1044-1045).
- a) Have you, or other students you have met at La Trobe, had this kind of experience?
- b) In your view, could employment in Australia help develop your English language skills and/or intercultural competence? In what ways?
6-If you could ask questions of those who have written about internationalization of the curriculum (e.g. Professor Betty Leask of La Trobe University), what are some things you would like to know?