A comparison between media representation of Asian international students and their own accounts of experience in New Zealand
This research takes as its starting point the role of the media as a major influence on the way people understand and interpret events, focusing on media coverage of Asian international students in New Zealand. The thesis investigates the differences between media accounts of Asian international students and students' own perceptions of their experiences, using both quantitative and qualitative methods.This topic has become one of high community interest since 1999 when the New Zealand Government changed its education policy to encourage the expansion of the export education industry, leading to the number of international students increasing rapidly. Many of these students are teenagers and come from non-English-speaking Asian backgrounds to study in universities, colleges, high schools and private institutions in New Zealand. As well as the obvious effects on the New Zealand economy, the presence of these students has also influenced New Zealand culture. For example, many international students have homestay experiences with New Zealand families. This meeting of different cultural backgrounds introduces both sides to different value systems, lifestyles, beliefs and customs. This cultural diversity not only challenges international students to adapt themselves to New Zealand society, but also provides an opportunity for native New Zealanders to understand the incoming cultures. For Asian international students in particular, this process can be problematic and their behaviours have been closely scrutinised by the media.