Many Chinese students at Australian universities fail to integrate with their western colleagues and can even get by without using much English, according to Hong Kong students at Monash and Melbourne universities. They were speaking out following revelations that Xiang Huan Yun, 36, the fourth-year student who shot two classmates on Monday, was described as frustrated by his poor standard of English. Edward Jim, a second year finance and accounting student at Monash, said it was easy to get by in lectures and tutorials without saying anything. Asians took up at least half the student places in some business-orientated classes at Monash, one of the three most popular universities in Melbourne for Asians along with Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and Melbourne University, he said. Most of the students came from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia, and spoke Cantonese or Mandarin. 'This year, we were not required to make presentations in class. Most of the time we attended lectures in large groups, so we did not have to speak in English,' Mr Jim said. Nor do they mix much with local students. 'When more than half the class are Cantonese speakers, it is only natural for us to hang out or do group projects with people who speak our mother tongue.' He said he attends just 13 hours of lessons a week. 'We do not stay on campus after class. There are few after-school activities. The emphasis in many business courses is to work hard on our own.' With few opportunities to communicate with Australian students, he said some Asian students had made little improvements in their oral English, even after three or four years. Kelvin Pang King-man, a second-year engineering student at Melbourne University, said: 'My intention is only to get a degree. We sit together with the Australians in the same class, but we don't mix together after class.' He rarely spoke to the local students on campus, he said. The university organised extra-curricular activities to help integrate overseas students, but Kelvin said he was not interested. He went straight home every day. 'Some Cantonese speakers acquire good Mandarin after a few years because of the friends they hang out with,' he said. Kitty Yau Oi-ki, a third-year design student at Monash, said she was surprised that Xiang was having difficulty with his English. 'Only those who do well academically are allowed to do a fourth year honours degree,' she said.