London, Hong Kong, New York – it’s all in a days work

22 JANUARY 2002

A kiss on the lips is said to be “quite continental”, and Charles Sturt University’s International Office Director, David Hatherly, would have to agree.

A kiss on the lips is said to be “quite continental”, and Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) International Office Director, David Hatherly, would have to agree.

During a meal in the Middle East, he was presented with a young goat, complete with a head, stewed in yoghurt, served on a bed of rice – and as guest of honour, he was offered the lips.

It is all simply a “day at the office” for the Sydney-born director, who has found himself in a new country every few months since taking up the position almost two years ago.

Typically he travels to such countries as Singapore, Malaysia, Britain, Vietnam, Thailand, America, India and the Middle East, with the aim of recruiting students to either study on campus or by distance education from their own country. 

It is a job far removed from his previous career as a lecturer in Information Technology, at CSU and previously at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education.

“I like the variety in this position. Work as an academic was often predictable – one could predict what one would be doing next week, next month or even next year,” Mr Hatherly said.

“But this is not the case in the International Office. I also like the feeling that I am in a role that has a significant influence on the University.”

It is his work, and that of his predecessors, that has determined much of the cultural mix in the regional settings of CSU’s campuses in Albury, Wagga Wagga, Bathurst and Dubbo, where it is possible to hear a variety of languages and see many cultures at any one time.

“My background allows me to relate well to the academics who teach the students and also to the students themselves,” Mr Hatherly said.

Living from a suitcase can offer it’s fair share of positive experiences, however there are times, according to Mr Hatherly, that are “more than challenging”.

One such moment was during a brief trip to India last September, which turned out to be a tale of flight delays, confusion and panic – all due to the terrorism events of September 11 and the collapse of Ansett and Kendell airlines, Mr Hatherly’s final “tickets” home.

“It’s a difficult experience coping with things that are unusual, but the experiences you go through make you more versatile in the end.”

This year, CSU is continuing to strengthen its international standing, with a concerted push to enter new markets. It is a growth area for the university, with 18.4 percent of the student population coming from outside Australia, either studying by distance education or on campus.

This is a positive outcome for CSU, according to Mr Hatherly, at a time when 10 of Australia's universities are experiencing negative operating margins – double the number from 1999, according to the recently released commonwealth higher education funding report.
 
There are 140,000 students studying at tertiary institutions in Australia, making it a valuable industry in its own right, injecting $3.4 billion into the economy annually and creating 12 000 jobs.

In addition, the industry has led to the creation of extra funding services, courses and facilities that would otherwise not be available locally.

Many foreign graduates also create important political links, going on to undertake influential careers. 

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Wagga Wagga Charles Sturt University International