On a day a Sikh student was assaulted in Adelaide and cricket legend Steve Waugh condemned the racial attacks, the Indian government announced guidelines for those who intend to study in Australia.
The government has advised Indian students in Australia not to venture out alone at night, avoid flaunting gizmos and, curiously, keeping their homes clean.
Commenting on the cleanliness diktat, MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash said the guidelines had been issued to sensitise students on the problems they could face abroad.
“In India, you might have a battery of servants but there (in Australia) you are all alone and at times one doesn’t realise there is neglect, which could cause tension. This is an objective view of things and one shouldn’t read between the lines.”
Announcing the guidelines, Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon hoped the attacks against Indians in Australia would stop. “We’d hope that everybody who is in a position to do something about it, primarily the Australian government, will succeed in the efforts to stop them,” he said.
In Adelaide, South Australia, a teenager was arrested on Friday for allegedly beating up an Indian student.
Local media reported that the student, 22, who requested not to be named, suffered a bloodied nose and sore jaw in the fistfight, which reportedly begun when the attacker allegedly struck the student’s turban.
A local Adelaide newspaper reported that a bystander said the Indian student threw the first punch, but he denied this, saying the attacker tapped on his turban and asked, “What’s that on your head?”
The student said he had never felt racism in Adelaide. “But what would you call this?” he added.
South Australia is home to over 27,000 international students, who bring in more than $740 million annually to the state.
In New Delhi, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday, suggested to him that a team of officials from the Australian High Commission meet parents of students studying in Australia to assure them about the safety of their children.
Before leaving for Australia
n Be fully informed of all actual costs involved, as also of relevant rules governing work, housing and other aspects of living in Australia. You are strongly advised to do adequate research.
n Study the official website of the Government of Australia for international students.
n Make sure institution offering the course has good reputation, especially if it is private.
n Go through website of educational institution and cross check if needed with Education Officer at Australian High Commission in Delhi or consulates in Mumbai and Chennai.
n Make sure you have written agreement from institution before paying any fees. This will be especially helpful in settling disputes if any.
After you arrive in Australia
n Please register with Indian High Commission / Consulate (see contact details below) as soon as possible.
n Familiarise yourself with the student services offered by your educational institution, such as counselling services, help in finding suitable accommodation and jobs, assistance in improving your English etc.
n Whatever accommodation you choose, remember it is your responsibility to maintain it and keep it clean.
n Seek details about the security situation in and around your university and place of stay, as well as, local policing arrangements from the university authorities.
n You should also contact local Indian associations and keep in touch with them.