‘We Can Just Get Lost in Translation’: Asian International Students Experience of an Australian University Library.

This research explores how Asian international students experience the use of Australian university libraries, and how Australian university library staff experience Asian international students.

This investigation sought to answer the research question: How do Asian international students experience the use of an Australian university library?

This research question concerned Asian international student experiences using Australian university libraries through the lens of their lived experiences. It investigated how Asian international students experience of Australian university libraries and the cross-cultural dimensions of their experiences. The research also investigated Australian university library staff experiences of Asian international students. A qualitative phenomenological research method was used that comprised a comprehensive literature review, and 32 semi-structured interviews.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 Asian international students and 15 university librarians located in several Australian universities. The universities have campuses located Australia, and Asia with large international student populations. Preliminary findings highlighted that 90% of Asian international student participants displayed “loyal customer” characteristics and 100% of Asian librarian participants expressed cross-cultural empathy and understanding. Conversely, 85% of Anglo/Celtic/European Australian librarian participants expressed stereotypical views of Asian international students.

Clare O’Dwyer

PhD Candidate, RMIT University

Author Bio

Clare O’Dwyer has over 25 years’ experience in special and university libraries. She has worked in senior library management roles in both Australia and Vietnam. Clare is a strong leadership professional, a librarian, an economist and a sessional academic. She is currently a PhD candidate focused on phenomenology, university library use, student support, international students, cross-cultural dimensions and qualitative data coding from RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. In addition, Clare is a proudly autistic qualitative academic scholar, who brings her autistic strengths, which include pattern recognition, creativity, hyper-empathy, kindness and compassion, to her research aims.