Intercultural interaction plays an important role in contributing to international students learning and wellbeing in the host country. While research on international students intercultural interactions reveals multifaceted aspects of personal and social factors, there is a tendency to consider language barrier and cultural differences as individual factors that constrain their interactions with the institutional community. Drawing on 105 interviews with international students in australian vocational education and training and dual sector institutions, this paper examines international students intercultural interactions in host institutions and the factors that act as enablers or inhibitors for intercultural interactions. It highlights the social and structural conditions in creating symbolic capital of elitist anglo-australian culture and english language, and social differentiation. This paper offers insights into understanding the legitimacy of such elitism, in hope that future conceptualisation, research and practices of intercultural interactions may locate international students within their cultural diversity. 2015 Taylor & francis.