According to the Department of Education and Training of the Australian Government, there have been 509,610 international students documented for February 2018 who are enrolled at Australian universities which constitutes 22,6% of the total student number in Australia, which is a rise of 12% in contrast to the numbers of February 2017.
screenshot of the INTERNATIONAL STUDENT DATA monthly summary of the Department of Education and Training
Australia is a popular and attractive country for studying abroad for international students. But what does it mean for a young adult to come to a foreign country, try to settle in in a new city and manage the study-life in an unfamiliar university with different systems and requirements?
Story topic and angle
I would like to write a feature story about the life and the process of settling in of international students at the University of Sydney. My story angle will be the process of arriving and managing the life in a foreign city and university as an international or exchange student. The feature will concern different problems of international students and personal tips they can give to others. For this, I will interview 5-8 current exchange students at the USYD from different countries, including South America, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Korea and maybe more. The students will tell me their personal stories which should help other international students in their own process of arriving in Sydney.
The publication and target user group
I intend to pitch my story to the “International student forum” from the University of Sydney Union, which is a blog that contains stories and experiences, tips and other helpful advices for international students at the university. Therefore, my feature story would fit perfectly to the purpose of this blog. The target group or audience of my story can obviously be described as international students at the University of Sydney or also other universities in Australia.
Sources of information
The sources of information will be the international students I am going to interview. Furthermore, I will interview one staff-member of the SRC (Students Representative Council) which also has a department for international students, to add an authoritative perspective to my feature. A member of the SRC will be able to give a more general, objective view on the topic and can tell me about the experience they have made with problems and issues of international students and they ways in which they can help.
For more detailed information I will also include some research and reports as well as facts and figures about international students in Australia, for example about the issue of the increasing mental health problems, working conditions for international students here or other interesting points concerning my topic that I will come across in my further research.
Ideas for multimedia, hypertext and interactivity
I plan to integrate photos and short videos of some of the students I will interview for my story. This will make my story more personal and the reader can develop an emotional connection to the different students and their personal stories, when the feature provides photos of them, or even video sequences in which they give their own “survival tips” for a successful study-life. Any academic reports or research information will be possible to follow up by the reader through embedded links. Numbers and statistics will be given in screenshots added to the feature to make the text more visible. In the end I will provide the contact details of the Student Representative Council and other important services at the University, the contacts of Clubs and other societies which international students can join and -if some of them will agree- also the contact details of some of my interviewees who offer their help to international students to become engaged and find friends.