The Challenge Faced by International Students
The challenge faced by international students Since the world is now a global village, international students tend to look beyond their home countries for tertiary education. However, Europe and other western countries are preferred by other national students to acquire knowledge and break the English language barrier. In recent decades, the students from developing countries intend to understand the cultural aspects of European countries as well as acquire knowledge.
Furthermore, this phenomenon has led to an in increase in economic activity since international are a great source of revenue generation for universities in Europe. According to Rumbley and Lemmens’s theories (20101:1), this is an inspiring development, but it also causes different problems. The challenge faced by international students is one of them. This essay will talk about the challenges faced by international students such as the psychological endurance capability of them and language barrier, and possible solutions like help them to make a wide society circle and according to homestay to solve these problems.
The first major challenge is overseas students must have a good psychological endurance capability. However, if this is not achieved they can suffer psychological ordeals such as aloneness which can further affect academic productivity. According to Hyland(2008:17), one international student said he was scared in the beginning stages in the seminar, because he was quiet , he didn’t talk too much, just listened to other students’ opinion, “I feel pretty lonely. ” said by him in the end of interview.
For example, in America according to Riskind (NCA, 2012), she suggests that many international students in America have few close friends and would like more meaningful interaction with their counterparts, however according to the survey 25% said that, American students were not being-open minded and interested in other cultures. This may cause isolation on the part of international students. In addition, to overcome homesickness it is important that the individual is able to have a much more focused and stable mind (Rajapaksa and Dundes 2002:72).
However, if this is not achieved, it poses a threat to the academic potential of the individual which may result in low grades and low self esteem. According to Rajapaksa and Dundee (2002:72), it acknowledges negative impacts of homesickness on academic performance among university students. It further on states that excessive acculturative stress can lead to eating disorders as well as sleeping problems, general body weakness and severe headaches.
Furthermore, Rajapaksa and Dundee (2002:73) argue that if this is prolonged, it shall bring about depression among international student and lead to suicide in the long run. The second main challenge is the language barrier by non-native English speakers. Firstly, in life aspect, Non-English speaking international students are not confident about their ability to communicate in English. “I still believe it difficult to understand the local dialects, jokes, slang and gestures. ” said by one student who have a good communication skills in English (Hyland et al, 2008:21).
Secondly, in the field of learning, although international students have achieved to the qualified result in the authoritative English languages test like IELTS (The International English Language Test System) when they get the Visa, they still will be required to academic English speech, understand a lot of academic English literatures and publish a academic dissertation during the period of their advanced course of study and training. However, English languages test only talk about undoubtedly topics and it allows the students expounded their views in their own way, this type of test was more like “non-academic genres” .
Therefore, it does not a accurately reflect a student’s academic level but lead them to their true ability misconceptions (Hyland et al ,2008:25). These show that Non-English speaking international students are fear communicate with the local people and their social circle is limited, it is difficult for them to make international friends. Simultaneously, they read academic article too slow lead on they do not adapt to the teaching method and the pace of classes, which will cause their anxiety.
There are many measures that can be engaged to curb the challenges that international students face with regards to the language barrier for student who do not use English as a first language and also for students that suffer from loneliness and homesickness. To begin with, given that loneliness and homesickness have extreme consequences universities have over the years made keen attempts to help international students make friends and socialise through various avenues such as clubs and through sporting activities.
Rajapaksa and Dundee (2002:37) suggest that universities must take it upon themselves to enhance the effectiveness of social networks instead of boosting the number of close friends. According to Rajapaksa and Dundee, it is a common phenomenon to see international students remain in groups or communities with fellow nationals although it is healthier to mingle with host country students in ord er to adapt to the culture. An effective strategy to curb this problem by the university is by promoting peering programmes connecting both host and international students (Rajapaksa and Dundee, 2002:73).
This is simply because according to Rajapaksa and Dundee it is more productive than formal counselling. One possible solution to break the language barrier is homestay. It is defined as overseas students residing with a family within a target culture (Kathryn Richardson, 2003:2). According to research conducted by Kathryn Richardson (2003:2), homestay has become a popular choice for students as it is a medium for students to adapt to the culture and language of their host country.
In this light, as they live with the locals, it serves as a prudent environment to help students to understand the local culture and language, as well as assisting them integrate into local society (Kathryn Richardson, 2003:7). Furthermore, homestay unlike boarding schools according to Kathryn (2003:4) provides individual care and attention for these students. International students living with host parents receive some assistance with regards to their academic work.
For example, a host parent can offer assistance by proof-reading assignments to eliminate grammatical errors so that clarity of the English language is improved. In conclusion, as this essay has discussed, the main challenges faced by the non English-speaking international students with regards to the language barrier and the negative impacts of loneliness and homesickness, it is however important for universities to bridge the gap by getting internationals students as well as home students to participate in social networks to boost confidence for international students.
Furthermore, it is equally important as well for parents of international students to encourage host parents and families to continue to provide the necessary assistance and guidance they provide with constant interaction in English, to break the language barrier and serve as a medium to introduce the cultural aspects of the host country.