WINDOWS ON A NEW WORLD:
AUSTRALIA FROM THE EYES OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
This Photovoice project aims to address understanding and misunderstandings between International students, local students and the wider community. Cultural differences can contribute towards difficulties in students’ ability to maximise their potential as students and citizens.
“WINDOWS ON A NEW WORLD” is focused on an exhibition of photographs taken by newly‐arrived international students of their first impressions and experiences with Australia. Through group sessions, lead using World Cafe’ style, students shared things and situations that may have appeared strange, new, hard to “make sense of” at first but also bewildering or frightening.
This project aims to use arts activities to engage students in group activities wherein various issues can be addressed and be given a “voice”, as well as quickly leading to manifestly positive outcomes for participants, both individually and as groups. At the same time, the exhibition and public display of the photos offers an opportunity to the wider community to be exposed to “what it feels like” to be an international student through the viewpoint of photographs and short stories from the students.
A group of students were recruited to take part in this Photovoice project through presentations during the University of Melbourne lunches for International students during Orientation week 2011 (see flyer). They also attended two workshops, where a World Café* technique was used to first assist them with their photo composition, and then to select photos and write the brief stories about them that are now published. Follow their progress on the Blog posts on this site, and see their photos on the Photo Gallery page.
(* World Café is a “conversational process based on a set of integrated design principles”. This process was used to engage the students in an environment where they could discuss the project together, and learn from each other how to capture and describe their experiences in their “new world”.)
For more details on the project, please read the Project outline document here (PDF file).