Social structures in the economics of international education: Perspectives from Vietnamese tertiary students in Australia

Publisher:
AARE
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
Social structures in the economics of international education: Perspectives from Vietnamese tertiary students in Australia, 2011, pp. 1 - 20
Issue Date:
2011-12-01
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Based on the findings from in-depth interviews with Vietnamese international students studying at Australian universities, this paper presents insights into the sociological influences that stem from international studentsʼ social networks, at home and abroad, and how they impact studentsʼ aspirations and behaviours. Informed by Bourdieuʼs (1986) social capital framework this paper argues that investment in human capital must take into account the role of social and cultural networks in influencing dispositions of students towards and hence their participation in international education. It critically challenges human capital theory for its assumptions of individualism and utilitarian function of education as economic goals. Understanding the sociological factors that influence international students will reveal how they engage with their learning, and present opportunities for universities to deliver programs that encourage students to participate in activities with local students and communities to improve their overseas educational experience. This paper presents a case for viewing social capital and human capital as mutual development of productive factors for human development in a globalised environment.
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