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Rethinking the issue of rights for international students
chapterposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ly TranLy Tran, Chris Nyland
Central to the issue of adaptability and reciprocity in international education are international students’ perspectives of their rights and the key holders’ responses to their rights in the host country. Policy texts on international students are often explicit in conceding international students have specific rights and spell out strategies for the sojourners to be able to realise their right to a high quality education, consumer protection and employment. However international student rights are an often-neglected issue in scholarly literature and empirical research on international students. This chapter focuses on the aspects of international student rights associated with their status as cross-border students. It is derived from a study funded by the Australian Research Council involving fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with 105 international students and staff from 25 vocational education and training institutes in Australia. While existing literature often links the breaching of international student rights as racism, discrimination, exploitation and harassment, the study reported in this chapter shows that international students see their rights as not only limited to these domains but also extend to more direct tangible aspects of their student experiences including education service, employment, accommodation and public transport fare. In particular, even though international students in this study made connections with diverse issues when discussing their rights in the host country, they primarily position themselves as customers of the education services and thus viewed their rights from this customer lens.