Student Life

Counselling and Personal Development

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Working with students from European countries

There isn’t a typical European student. Europe is a patchwork of cultures, traditions, languages and the unifying umbrella of the EU is still in its early childhood days. Students from the first Australian settler countries like England and Ireland would be the most familiar with Australian culture, as far as language and subtle culture clues (and driving on the left side of the road) .

Apart from the U.K. one could roughly divide Europe into the following categories:

  • Scandinavian countries: Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland
  • France and Central European countries: France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland
  • Eastern European countries and the Balkans: Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Estland, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia and former Yugloslav countries
  • Mediterranean countries: Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal

The education systems of European countries are quite different. Therefore, the familiarity with Australian tertiary education standards might vary, as well as the level of English language skills. Without generalising too much, you would expect a higher level of English language skills from students in Scandinavia and Central European countries. Consequently, there are differences in dealing with the transition to Australian academic standards, which touches on issues like plagiarism and their approach to studying.

Students from former communist countries might expect more of an authoritarian style of communication from teaching or administration staff. But it could well turn into the opposite: coming from such a background, they might be disappointed that Australia has strict regulations.

Students from some European countries, e.g. the Balkans, may be Muslims (even if you expect them to come from Middle Eastern, African or Asian countries). We want to draw your attention to the web page Working with Muslim Students.

However, it cannot be said enough, that you should look at each student without preconceptions and what is mentioned here, could be outdated in a couple of years, as developments in European countries as well as in Australia take place.

Taking it further

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29th April 2009