Understanding the Student Experience
Chapter 5 Colonial Knowledge - Post-colonial Identities 141
141 Chapter 5 Colonial Knowledge - Post-colonial Identities For the first four days it rained. I could hardy see where I was….I saw what I saw very clearly. But I didn’t know what I was looking at. I had nothing to fit it into…. So I was used to living in a world where the signs were without meaning, or without the meaning intended by their makers. It was of a piece with the abstract, arbitrary nature of my education, like my ability to “study” French or Russian cinema without seeing a film, an ability which was, as I have said, like a man trying to get to know a city from its street map alone. (Naipaul 1961 The Enigma of Arrival.) The experience above describes Naipaul’s engagement with colonial knowledge in the metropolitan center. The previous chapter outlined the issues related to the international student’s immediate needs once they arrive at the metropolitan center for their study. This chapter explores the international student’s encounter with metropolitan knowledge and how their cultural history impacts on their learning experiences. We begin with an investigation of the attitudes and values placed on Western education and the sacrifices that international students make to obtain it. There is a comparison between the academic environment in the home country and the Australian academic environment. The second half of this chapter focuses on academic practices including the international students’ engagement with the dominant language, and the use of critical analysis in academic writing. 142 Seeking...
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