Drinking water is a necessary activity for human’s life. The aim of this research was to identify habits of international students with the hypothesis was the drinking water habits of overseas students change when they come to Australia. In order to recognize the drinking water habits of international students, the questionnaire was designed and administered to 50 overseas students in Westmead campus of the University of Western Sydney. The respondents ticked one answer only in both Australia and their own countries in each question. The results showed that these overseas students in the sample changed their drinking water habits when they came to Australia such as they drank less water and preferred tap water from public places. Introduction
Water always plays an extremely important role to living beings in general and human society in particular. If in the past, people could drink water from many places such as lakes, rivers or spring to survive. These days, these habits have changed for human in order to adapt to the new modern circumstance. People’s drinking water habits are affected by many elements such as quality, cost and availability of the water in the modern life. Human’s activities in agriculture, industry or daily life cause negative effects to the environment, especially the quality of the groundwater and water in rivers or lakes. Levallois et al (1998) stated that using too much chemical fertilizers in agriculture has contaminated the groundwater. The groundwater has not been safe to drink as it had been in the past. During and after the water crisis in 08/1998 in Sydney, the Sydney residents changed from drinking tap water to bottled water. This was proven clearly via the increase in sales of bottled water at supermarkets (Honery 1998). Although tap water was as healthy and safe as bottled water, people still preferred bottled water (Arold 2006).
According to Erik D (1999), bottled water was consumed by more than half of Americans and sales increase triple times in the past 10 years. Although there were many studies about the drinking water habits to be done, more research needs to be implemented in order to be able to provide more result about the drinking water habits when international students move to Australia. The purpose of this research was to identify the changing in drinking water habits for overseas students when they come to Australia. This research was necessary for the University of Western Sydney where there are many overseas students. Basing on considering habits of these students, the UWS can understand the needs of international students. They can make these students feel comfortable about the facility in the campuses, especially about these facilities for drinking water. Methodology
This survey mentioned to the drinking water habits of overseas students and was conducted by students from the Advanced English Writing and Reading Class at the University Of Western Sydney College in Westmead campus. The questionnaire was designed with the pattern of multiple choices and open questions. The key subjects of this research were overseas students; therefore, these copies of that questionnaire were administered to 50 international students. The majority of these students were in Australia less than three months, between 25 to 30 years old and from Asia. The sample included 22 male and 28 female. The questionnaire was designed by students and consisted of two main parts. In the first one, questions mentioned to demographic information. In the second one, the purpose of these questions was to look for information about the drinking water habits of international students in both Australia and their home countries. When the questionnaire was completed, 50 copies were done to administer. After collecting all
questionnaires from the respondents, the tally system was applied and data was conversed into figure and percentage. Therefore, the drinking water habits of overseas students could be identified. Result
Figure 1: The biggest priority for drinking water
The Figure 1 illustrates the effect of quality, cost, availability and smell to drinking water habits of overseas students in Australia and their home countries. The majority of students agreed that the quality of water was the most important element for drinking water regardless in Australia or home countries. When international students came to Australia, they were also less care about the quality of water as they were in their own countries. There was 74% of respondents said that they considered about quality of water in their own countries. There was 24% and 12% of the sample paying attention about availability and cost respectively in Australia.
Figure 2: The quantity of water that overseas students drank daily
The Figure 2 presents the quantity of water is consumed by international students every day. In general, these students drank less water in Australia than they did in their own countries. There were 10% and 24% of the sample drank more than 2 liters per day when they were in Australia and their own countries respectively. However, there were 40% of respondents drinking about 1.5 to 2 liters of water daily when they were in Australia.
Figure 3: Types of drinking water preferred by international students
The Figure 3 shows what kinds of water were chosen by international students when they were in Australia and their home countries. Half of respondents preferred tap water to other types of water when they were in Australia whilst they liked mineral and cool boiled water when they were in their home countries. There were 50% and 20% of these students drink tap water when they were in Australia and their own countries respectively. However, there was 40% and 30% of these students drank cool boiled water and mineral water respectively in their own countries.
Figure 4: the comment places of drinking water for overseas students
The Figure 4 illustrates the popular places where international students can drink water in Australia and home countries. The majority of students in the sample preferred to drink water from their house regardless they were in Australia or their home countries. There were 74% of the sample chose to drink water from home in Australia whilst that number were 80% in their own countries. There were 12% and 6% of these students preferred water from public area in Australia and their own countries respectively. Discussion
The purpose of this research was to identify the drinking water habits of overseas students changed or not when they came to Australia. The hypothesis of this research was the international students change their drinking water habit when they come to Australia. The consequences from the survey definitely proved that the hypothesis was supposed and these students in the sample changed their drinking water habits in three main dimensions: the comment places for drinking water, the types of water and the quantity of water was consumed daily by overseas students. The comment places for overseas students to drink water had slightly changed. It is possible because most of these students stayed in Australia less than 3 months as they mentioned in demographic information. There was a significant increase in drinking water in public area in Australia. In addition, the types of water were chosen by these students in the sample also changed. They preferred tap water to other ones when they were in Australia. Maybe the facilities for tap water in Australia are more available and these students can assess this system more easily than they were in their own countries. The quantities of water that overseas students in the sample drank daily were changed. It could be the difference about the weather in Australia and their home countries. The majority of student came from Asia where it is hot and humid whilst it is dry in Australia. Therefore, when they came to Australia, they consumed less water than they did in Asia. Although the hypothesis was proven, the size of the sample was small, 50 only. It cannot represent for all international students in Australia. Therefore, the sample in the next research needs to be broadened two or three time in order to get
a more accurate result. According to demographic information, the age of most of students in the sample was from 25 to 30 and they were from Asia. Therefore, the result may be more accurate if the researchers do their survey in more various age and region of overseas students in the next time. Even there were limitations in this research, the office of the University of Western Sydney College, especially in Westmead campus can use the result from this research such as overseas students preferred tap water in public area to understand more about students’ needs and supply more drinking water facilities for international students.
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