Problems Faced by International Students

International students are the ones that are coming to study in a foreign country or foreign educational institutions. Andrade Snow defined the term “international student” applying to the UK as individual enrolled in institutions of higher education who are on temporary student visa and are non-native English speakers. However, Bamford gives a definition which differs a little bit: “The term ‘international students’ is taken here to mean those students who have been educated in a national education system outside the UK and who on the whole are likely to be non-native speakers of English, although this is not necessarily the case. (Bamford, 2008, p59) In the latter definition there has a little difference from the first one. It mentions an insignificant, on the face of it, feature – mother tongue even though it is one of the toughest challenges anyone going abroad might possibly face – language barrier. Over the past several years, the number of student going to study abroad has been gradually increasing. United Kingdom became one of the most popular destinations of international students to head to.
According to statistics provided by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and later used by Angela Harrison for an article in BBC news, their quantity increased by 32% from 2005 to 2010 and 1. 64% from 428225 in 2010/2011 to 435235 in 2011/2012. New coming international students in the United Kingdom are most likely to find it challenging to adapt to newly arising problems such as homesickness, language problems and adapt to new surroundings, academic culture and lifestyle.
The very first thing every student notices when coming to study abroad except for the different language, if this is the case, is the difference in culture and the way of living. For the most people arriving in the UK the greatest shock is the right hand side driving. However, those are not the most important difference for the one’s seeking for education in Great Britain. Academic culture in the UK does not generally match the one of their motherland’s.

The main emphasis here is made on self-work and trying to understand the material rather then doing main aspects during lessons or lectures and a student being given all the information needed and just being asked to memorise it and be able to answer the questions correctly. Therefore we can come to the conclusion that there is a different system of learning in here to which foreign students have already got used to. One of the key aspects is the interaction between a teacher and a student. In most countries teachers give all the information needed to the student and then gives out assignments to be completed.
In the UK, however, it is all up to a student. Teachers are there only to guide students rather than do all the work for them. One can always rely on the tutor to ask for any questions a class might have and advice what literature they should read in order to succeed instead of giving a fixed list of books to read and set of questions to answer. The latter one is commonly used in such educational systems as the one’s of ex-USSR countries alongside with learning things by rote. It might be quiet hard for the freshers to get used to the whole new style of learning material.
Some of the students might even try to get back to the skills and schemes they acquired back at their home countries in order to cope and keep up with the current work but generally the experience of students shows that it is worth trying to get along with the new ones they are given. Mainly because new skills they are being taught are adjusted especially for the particular learning schematics used in the United Kingdom. There is no doubt that approaches towards learning vary from country to country.
The only obvious solution is for an educate to get along with his or her situation and try to make best of the hits he gets from the tutor without bearing against them and carrying on with what is already familiar. “To accommodate students’ learning styles, teachers need to apply new management techniques for the classroom which they can learn in Diploma in Holistic Education Programme. ” This is a piece of advice, given by Prashing Style Solutions, in order to make it easier for students to adapt with any different learning styles to the ones they are already used to it.
One of another probable complications to arise is the problem of homesickness. Leaving family, friends, and a home culture in pursuit of an academic opportunity abroad, international students frequently find themselves simultaneously grieving for missed persons and places, building new social networks, and adjusting to new cultural and environmental demands (Chen, 1999; Mori, 2000; Sandhu & Asrabadi, 1994). And according to a research conducted at Warwick University, “up to 70% of students will experience homesickness in their early days at university.
It is a normal part of the experience of leaving home. However, even mild homesickness deserves careful attention. It is a reminder of our need to respect our physical and emotional needs at a time of stress. Yet, for some people the results of homesickness are quite disabling, and need additional support from parents, friends or professionals. ” For someone this might be the first experience of being abroad alone without family and friends. This might be a critical strike for someone as this leads to a fall in academic life as well.
Homesickness is known to bring about such problems as emotional bursts, loss of concentration and will strength to do anything, reticence, problems with sleeping and nutrition, sadness and in some cases even mental disorder. Such feelings as loneliness, depression and the illusion of being pressurised by peers also derive from homesickness. This instability makes people an easy target for bullies and offensive jokes. All the surroundings and even the environment around might seem to be hostile.
Everything to what a person has got used to is gone in a matter of a second. We can tell that homesickness occurs when a person leaves a supporting social life back home, and at a sudden finds him/herself all alone in a new environment missing that support as well as he/she is away from it, which makes it hard to decide to just step back into it (Beck, 2002). A solution to this problem might be trying to find new friend in order to have someone to whom a person can always talk to.
Generally, people are trying to find some of their co-nationals and stick to them as it makes their stay easier and more pleasant even though it has an influence on their productivity (Tompson and Tompson’s 1996). This is not the only reasonable category of choosing new friends. It is a good idea to join some social clubs and find people who have the same interests and passion so that you have some common ground lest not to feel lonely, gain confidence and lessen the amount of tress and psychological problems. And what is more, all the modern technology available at our hands makes it much easier to communicate with friends and relatives left overseas. Last but not least, nearly in all the cases there is a problem of a language problem. There is no doubt that language is one of the most important problems, as most of the students come from non – English speaking countries. As a consequence, there are difficulties at expressing oneself and understanding others present.
Struggling with language usually means an increased amount of time spent on accomplishing. Moreover it makes it harder to integrate into the society. Even the University of Leeds Language Centre’s research states that international students enter the University with different levels of proficiency in English and varying degrees of familiarity with British academic and social conventions, which makes the odds of getting on with others uneven. Trying not to be shy and communicating may be a way out. Getting into conversations and practising helps out.
Even though it will probably be scary at the beginning, practise makes things perfect. It is also highly advised by psychologist to face one’s fears in order to overcome them. Other than that it also may be useful to make use of such tools as cinemas and television. Media is not only a mean of entertainment but also a tool to be used in order to enhance the level of language possessed. Academic journals and books can come in handy to enrich one’s lexicon with academic and specific vocabulary, which is generally a necessity for succeeding in studies.
In the conclusion, it is not a point of argument that most of the students coming from abroad to study in the United Kingdom are going to experience anticipated problems, which, however, can be easily avoided by taking counter – measures. It is always good to remember why you chose this path for yourself and made a first step by moving to a different country. If it still is a hot issue for you and you can’t find a solution on your own, the rational answer will be to find someone who has already fought down same problems or to speak to people assign to specifically help people with those matters.

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