Student Voices: Domestic cohort engagement with international students through COVID-19

This report, jointly published by IEAA and Education New Zealand, is a landmark trans-Tasman study that analyses Australian and New Zealand domestic student sentiments towards international students during COVID-19.

The report reveals that around half of domestic students surveyed said they were concerned by the challenges faced by international students. The report also details the ways in which domestic students engaged with their international peers to assist them through the pandemic.

The most common forms of support were:

  • learning support
  • peer support (e.g. buddy schemes)
  • social networking
  • mentoring support

"This project is one that I have felt particularly privileged to have worked on. The results pave the way for a new perspective in terms of how international students can become better immersed into campus communities and feel equally recognised and valued as their ‘local’ counterparts,” researcher Rob Lawrence says.

As the international education sector looks to enter a post-pandemic phase of recovery, this report signals the willingness of domestic students to engage with international students more meaningfully, and the need to support greater ties between these cohorts. Institutions could consider more structured approaches to fostering peer-to-peer links to enhance the student experience for both their international and domestic students.

This report was produced as part of the Student Voices research initiative in partnership with Education New Zealand.


Rob Lawrence Prospect Research and Marketing
Professor Christopher Ziguras RMIT University

Published: September 2021