The Challenge of studying aboard
As a student, personally think that the most challenge thing is the academic study. The challenge of academic language study consists in following classes, reading textbooks in timely period (Line, Hi), understanding professors’ words, taking lecture notes, and giving oral presentations (Zinnia, Hong), asking professors questions and interacting in seminar discussions and so on. I, personally, think the reading and oral speech are very hard to international students especially to Chinese students in Saint Louis University because all y Chinese friends are struggling in reading English texts and communicating clearly in class.In colleges, students have many resources to read before and after classes.
The challenges in reading reflect in two aspects. First, the number of reading assignments are more than that you excepted. My friends me all struggle to finish our reading every day. Especially those classes belong to Arts and Science, such as History, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology. On average, students have fifteen classes one week, and we need to read all the materials before the classes to follow our professors.If the professors always teach one chapter that has fifty pages in each class, we have to read and understand 750 pages academic knowledge. My friend Anna in the EPA 120 class complained she always spend five to six hours on Theology reading assignments before each Theology class.
(Zinnia, Hong) And my other classmate Isabel told me she has to spend more than forty hours on reading in every week. (Lully, Shah) really understand them. Take me as an example, am taking Management class that my professor Mr..Katz requires us to read two chapters more than one hundred pages before class and it really needs or hours. Besides, I need to read the Typhoon tonight, which is a twenty- five pages long dialogue that was written by Plato. Another aspect is that the reading resources are extremely difficult.
We can see many academic words and new definition in every page. We need to stop and read careful about these difficult but important academic vocabularies. As an international student, the new words make our reading more difficult than that of America students because Of the language barrier.I had an exam that includes fifty five problems of my Philosophy class last Monday, and all the American dents finished it early, while other language-speech students are still struggling to read the title. Because we are not Native Americans, we cannot understand all words in books (even some American students cannot know all words, you could say some words is even difficult to American students, much less international students), we have to check new words and it will reduce our reading speed. In Theology texts, I always face some uncommon words like deism, theism , materialism and animism and so on.They are hard to understand because they are not a physical thing, but instead abstract, social, or conceptual words.
When I preview my Chemistry textbook, the periodic table of the elements like Tellurium, Bismuth and Rhenium already make me dizzy because the names of elements are hard and unfamiliar for me. In China, students just need to sit down and listen their professors’ words and take notes. We don’t have any discussion, group study and presentation that really need good skills of communication in our classes in China.That’s why Chinese students look uncomfortable and lack confidence during class discussion and presentation in the first in American classrooms. However, in general, American students have a lot of experience in test taking and at expressing their Opinions in class. The educational models that they have been received from their primary schools to now engage them speak out and argue with others. They sometimes argue with their teachers in class, give teachers suggestions on things that need changing, or even criticize their ideas.
For us, it is not easy to adapt this kind of classes because it is not only about class, it is more about the different styles of lectures. Last Ethel 00, my roofless asked us a question that is about the Buddhism. As a Chinese, I know the basic information about Buddhism like its origin, its major concept and its meditation. However, I just kept silence because I really don’t know how to say these in English. Cannot speak out my ideas also because I was afraid about my pronunciation is not good.In the beginning of this semester, was taking the Public Speaking class, which is focus on speech skills because hope can improve my oral speak and brave to speak out. However, when went to classroom and looked all my classmates are Americans and they look ere confident.
During this class, students answered questions, speak out their feelings and interacted with professor very well. Felt nervous, depressed and isolated. Looking at the syllabus of the class, found that we have at least ten speeches this semester and I backed out.After the class, decided to drop it and planned to choose it in the next year. For other language students, understanding Language in the classroom is one thing, but understanding American students and how they talk and interact, that might have required even further adjustment for us. My friend Lully told me, her American classmates think she always drag them down when they have to work together during the Con class because during the class discussion, she cannot give some good ideas and solutions. Sometimes, she is struggling to figure out what is the question or follow the American students’ ideas.