Excelsia College students come from all over the world to study social work, counselling, business, creative and performing arts, accounting, and education. Over 80 per cent of our students speak a language other than English, and over 58 nationalities are represented at the College. We love this because Excelsia College aims to be a global, multicultural community where people share the same vision and values. It reminds us of the picture painted in Revelation 7:9, which talks about every nation and tribe coming together, and we aim to create such a community.
Did you know that in 2018, 876,399 international students were enrolled in educational programs across Australia? This is approximately 8.3 per cent more than in 2017, during which 796,130 international students were enrolled according to Australian Government Department of Education and Training (2019). Over three-quarters of these international students entered Australia through agents (ICEF Monitor, 2019). In terms of students studying ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students), China made up the largest source of enrolments at 23.6 per cent, followed by Colombia at 14.6 per cent of enrolments, Brazil at 10 per cent and Thailand at 6 per cent (Australian Government Department of Education Skills and Employment International student data summary, 2020).
Having friends and colleagues from across the globe reflects our increasingly diverse workplace and world. So in a context where Australia, and our College community is so multicultural, how we can learn and appreciate each other’s differences? And why is Excelsia pursuing the goal of being a multicultural college?
Diversity and multiculturalism help students, teaching and support staff gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of their peers as they take the time to understand one another and learn about each other’s upbringings, traditions, and knowledge. Diversity and multiculturalism also foster emotional skills such as understanding, empathy, and compassion. Staff and students gain greater cultural awareness and understanding that reflects the outside world, as well as practising critical thinking on current social issues surrounding cultural diversity.
At Excelsia College, we take pride in loving one another, learning about one another, and removing biases and preconceptions we might have. Harmony Day is prominent in Excelsia’s calendar, where we encourage staff and students to share their cultural heritage, including through food and clothing. Our chaplain also hosts a Nepalese BBQ where we celebrate South Asian culture, food, and music.
Being a multicultural community with smaller class sizes means we can learn to share our strengths, potential, the way we see each other and how we work together. We can gain a more accurate representation and knowledge of cultural groups.
Excelsia helps staff and students to gain global perspectives and practices that go beyond our own world views and we help to prepare students for careers in a variety of global settings. No matter where our students go once they graduate, they can take those valuable skills of empathy, critical thinking, and cultural awareness they learned at Excelsia into their local, national and international communities. Excelsia is building a culturally aware, global community in not only Sydney but also throughout the world.
Department of Education, Skills and Employment. (2020). End of year summary of international student data 2020 [PDF]. Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. internationaleducation.gov.au/research/international-student-data/Documents/MONTHLY%20SUMMARIES/2020/Full%20year%20summary.pdf
Department of Education and Training. (2019). 2018 time series graph: International student enrolments in Australia 1994–2018. [PDF]. Australian Government Department of Education and Training. internationaleducation.gov.au/research/international-student-data/Documents/INTERNATIONAL%20STUDENT%20DATA/2018/2018%20Time%20Series%20Graph.pdf
ICEF Monitor. (2019, October 30). Education agents refer 75% of Australia’s international students. ICEF. monitor.icef.com/2019/10/education-agents-refer-75-of-australias-international-students/