Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Edith Cowan University


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure




This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of: Ryan, M. M., & Ogilvie, M. (2010). Overseas students in Australia: An experiential view. Proceedings of Teaching & Learning Forum 2010. (pp. n/a). Perth, Western Australia. Edith Cowan University. Available here


Overseas students have access to a number of learning opportunities available by virtue of a highly competitive tertiary education market system. Despite the increasing trend for remote, online-based learning programs, many students elect to travel outside their home country to experience the cultural difference of studying abroad. The benefit is symbiotic, with crucial university funding being attracted by increased numbers of overseas students seeking an enriched studying experience. The focus of this paper is the on-campus learning experience received by expatriate students studying in Australia and Singapore. How these students adapt to the different physical, social and emotional environments is examined. It concentrates on students' consumption of the 'home' phenomena through an experiential and sensory approach demonstrating the influence of the senses in the adaptation process. In-depth interviews were conducted with twenty-two students using photo elicitation as an auto-driver. Students were given disposable cameras and asked to take photos of important places, people and things that represented home to them in their own country as well as their country of study. When recounting their experiences, all students referred to the positive influence of their senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste) on their experiences, making those experiences more memorable and real. In some instances awareness of this sensory influence helped bridge the gap between their home and country of study. Therefore, it seems that adaptation to the new environment via positive sensory experiences is important if the student is to have a positive, constructive experience studying aboard. An understanding of the role that experiential feelings and the senses play in the adaptation and learning process is vital for the Australian tertiary institutions if they are to optimise the learning experience for overseas students in a social, cultural and economic context, as well as their economic impact for our tertiary education system

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