Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
Increasing diversity of student populations at Australian universities has raised research attention on how international students are coping with their academic and social life. A research project conducted with Chinese students studying at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Western Australia in 2005 revealed various cultural and equity issues which impact on the Chinese international students' academic and social experiences in Australia. This paper focuses on the social aspects of the findings from this study. It was found that most Chinese students reported poor social life and interaction with local and other international students on and off campus. Developing friendship with local students seems difficult. Home-stay experience has also been found problematic. The study shows that language and cultural differences are major barriers which impact on their social experience in Australia. The role of universities and local communities to develop strategies to improve Chinese international students' social outcomes while studying in Australia is addressed.