This thesis aims to explore and define ‘Australian Culture’ according to the perceptions of the Singaporean student market and investigates the impact of ‘Australian Culture’ to the Singaporean student experience. Literature has shown that over the past decade, the growing market of international students has resulted in an increased demand for higher education. This is especially evident where Australia due to its geographical proximity to the Asia-Pacific countries plays host to a vast variety of international students caused by the rising affluence. A country like Australia would also have a fairly large cultural distance from its Asian neighbours, in particular Singapore. Literature highlighted that everyone experiences culture shock and for Singaporean students, it can be made worse due to the large cultural distance. It is therefore imperative that the Singaporean students perceptions of Australian culture is discovered and understood to mitigate the negative perceptions. This firm understanding of the international students perceptions and experiences would allow Australia to remain at the top of the higher education industry.
Data was collected via focus group interviews consisting of Singaporean students studying at the University of Queensland. The results revealed that Australian culture did not have a strong impact on the Singaporean experience due to a variety of factors such as a good understanding of cross-cultural communication that led to a high racial tolerance for certain behaviours. However, the data suggested a balanced view of students’ perceptions, which led to a variety of different experiences. In addition, the majority of experiences were found to be positive with students that stayed longer in Australia, which allowed for them to adapt to Australian culture.
Although there was not much impact on the Singaporean student experience, the outcomes of this study contribute academically and practically to the body of knowledge. This study contributed theoretically by broadening the knowledge of the Singaporean student experience and how that experience was impacted by the Australian culture. Following this, the study identifies practical implications for the Australian universities, government and marketing organisations. Recommendations were also suggested to improve the international student experience. Additionally, the study suggested a number of future researches that could strengthen and elaborate on the findings of this study.