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Overseas students coordinating committees ‐ the origins of student support in Australia?1

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Student support in contemporary educational settings is vastly different from what it was when international education became a visible presence on Australian campuses in the 1950s. At that time, community organizations, businesses and the government cooperated to provide support to students in Australia, with little support being offered formally through universities and colleges. These Co-ordinating Committees survived for decades, into the 1990s. It could be argued that these Co-ordinating Committees facilitated a community engagement in international education that has not continued as the number of students has multiplied. Using archival and other primary source documents, this article will look at the beginnings of the Australian Organisations’ Co-ordinating Committee for Overseas Students (AOCCOS), and other similar organizations. It will analyse how the Committees changed over the decades of their existence, and what role they played in influencing government policies.

The article will also investigate when and why these Committees ended, and what, if anything, has taken their place. The huge expansion of the international education sector, with more than half a million students now studying in Australia as international students, has impacted the quantity and quality of engagement with the Australian community for many of these students.

Finally, the article will look at efforts to engage the community in the support of, and engagement with, international students in Australia in a more contemporary setting. This includes support provided by institutions, community and sporting organizations and state government and municipal councils.

Keywords: Australian history; community engagement; international education; internationalization; policy history; student support

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000105267079Deakin University

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • Transient migration due to the global movements of people for work, study and lifestyle is part of everyday life. This journal thus aims to provide a platform that explores and investigates the complexities of transient migration and to map the experiences of the growing number of transient migrants as they engage and interact with communities that are linked both to their home and host nations. This journal seeks to look at the ways in which transient migrants cope with transience and how transient migration affects individuals and communities in this transitional yet significant period. The scope of the journal will include but not be limited to themes of belonging, identity, networks, nation, culture, religion, race and ethnicity, gender and memory while incorporating the roles played by various platforms to facilitate these themes such as media, politics, policy, economy and the creative industries.
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