In the last few years, studying abroad has become an increasingly popular choice for higher education among international students (Accessibility Navigation, 2014). An average of 10% of students in universities all across the UK are international students from countries all over the world. (Accessibility Navigation, 2014). Although the experience is different for each individual student, there are many common problems that international students face. Those problems include: culture shock to varying degrees coupled with emotional issues(Bailey, 2005), Language barriers along with other communication problems (Sherry et al, 2009), and academic problems due to a change in school curriculum (Ramachandran, 2011). This essay will expand on the common problems faced by international students in the UK, offer solutions for handling the problems, and making the process of acclimating to a new environment easier for students.
One of the first and most common problems most, if not all international students face when they first arrive in the UK for study is culture shock. culture shock is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary(2014) as the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. When students first move to the UK they observe and experience several things for the first time and it tends to overwhelm them. New international students often find themselves feeling powerless and unimportant which often forces them into self-isolation(Bailey, 2005). The culture shock also tends to result in the students being unable to make friends in their new community because they are unsure of what is customary and regarded in good light (Bailey, 2005).
Another main contributor to students feeling ill-adapted to their new surroundings is language differences. Students arrive with the vocabulary of their home towns fresh on their tongue and may find that they are unable to communicate and understand efficiently (Sherry et al, 2009). This inability often leads to several avoidable altercations or misunderstandings which can cause a high level of stress for the student (Sherry et al, 2009). That stress, accompanied with the stress of growing up and being in a new environment can begin to take a toll on the student and affect their quality of life in their new surroundings. Students who experience a high level of stress in their new environment often find themselves distracted and unable to adapt efficiently (Bailey,2005). When students are unable to adapt they are likely to run into financial problems because they do not know any better which can lead to them being unable to socialise and join campus activities. That can also result in them being unable to make new friends (Bailey, 2005).
When students from countries, especially ones that operate with different educational systems than the UK, arrive they often find it hard to keep up academically. Not necessarily...