Student mobility: new paradigms and outcomes for future Asia

A/Prof. Beatrice Trefalt1, Dr Bodean Hedwards1, Dr Jeremy Breaden1, A/Prof Andy Jackson1, Dr Hui Huang1, Ms Natassia Bell1, Ms Elicia O’Reilly1

1 Monash University

In recent years, student mobility has moved away from the traditional ‘semester abroad’ model to include a wider variety of experiences, including short study tours, workplace internships and language intensives. This diversification has had important benefits for student: work-integrated learning opportunities have grown, and short-term study abroad has allowed greater and more equitable access to an overseas study experience. At the same time, the trend raises questions on the ability of short-term programs to provide a sound basis for in-depth learning, threatening the kind of comprehensive knowledge required for area studies in the Humanities especially. This panel discussion builds on the 2019 Japan Foundation report on recent trends in student mobility to Japan, but broadens the reflection out to Asian Studies in general. To what extent does short-term mobility threaten, or enhance, our students’ knowledge of Asia and the future of Asian studies in Australia?


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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