Cultural activities are activities where people spend their leisure time attending cultural venues and events. For example, cultural activities include going to art galleries, museums, libraries, operas, concerts and the cinema. People want to get feelings of well-being and gain more knowledge by participating in cultural activities.
Participation in cultural activities influences the development of students in many aspects, such as for entertainment and knowledge. The involvement of students in cultural activities can help them develop a well-rounded education. For overseas students in Australia, participating in native cultural activities can also help them reduce culture shock and provide a better way for students to understand more information concerning the history, customs and beliefs in Australia.
In a survey concerned with participation in cultural activities among Australian people, it was found that about 85% of the Australian people who aged over 15 years old participated in at least one of cultural activity during the 12 months in 2005-06 (Australian Bureau of Statistics) (ABS) (2007). Going to the cinema was the most popular activity which had the highest percentages at 65% of people. Going to zoological parks and aquariums were the two second most common activities, at 36%; libraries and botanic gardens were at 34% (ABS, 2007). In addition, the same study found that people with higher educational background had considerably higher attendance rates than people with lower educational attainment at art galleries, museums, zoological parks and aquariums, libraries, popular music concerts, other performing arts and the cinema. Moreover, in previous research, it was found that about 25% of respondents went to the library over 20 times during the year. (ABS, 2007).
However, little research has been done to compare differences in participation in cultural activities between overseas students in Australia and Australian people. The aim of this research is to find out whether overseas students’ cultural activity behaviors were similar to Australians.
This research was carried out in Navitas English language school on 10th December 2010, and was concerned about the participation in cultural activities of overseas students. Data were collected through questionnaires in the school. The participants consisted of 50 overseas students (25 males and 25 females), who were aged between 18-24 and 25-34, just one person was over 35. The majority of the sample were Chinese; other subjects were from Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, and Japan.
The questionnaire, which was administered informally and contained 8 questions, was made up of three sections: demographic information, the type and the frequency of cultural activities. Specifically, 4 questions were developed to record general information; one question was about which cultural activities students participated in; the other 3 items asked about how often students participated in cultural activities per year, involving all cultural activities, going to the library and cinema.
The survey was conducted by several groups; each group consisted of 2-3 students. These groups respectively entered different classes to collect data using questionnaires. After collecting this, the data was shared by all groups.
Data from questionnaires were then collated and converted to percentages. The results were compared according to gender, education and frequency in graphs. Results
Graph 1 shows the percentage of overseas students’ participation in cultural activities according to gender. As can be seen from the graph, although males and females did some similar activities, there were great differences between them.
The most popular cultural activity was going to the cinema; both males and females had the highest percentage of attendance in this activity, around 44% and 36%, respectively. In addition to this, males and...