International Students: A Vulnerable Group In Need Of Self Regulation And Community Accommodation

1717 words - 7 pages

Studying abroad, which has become a common phenomenon, can be a fun and meaningful experience. Many university students are interested in studying abroad because it gives them an opportunity to explore different cultures and broaden their horizons. As Mark Sherry, Peter Thomas and Wing Hong Chui argue in “International Students: a Vulnerable Student Population,” the goals that students pursue international study are often to acquire different ways of learning and to improve cross-cultural understanding, which helps them gain self-confidence as well as maturity (33). This experience turns out to be beneficial to those who study abroad. Nevertheless, when students are surrounded by a wholly new environment, many problems that hinder their passion inevitably emerge in this process, which makes them a vulnerable group. To resolve these problems, international students should change their habits and pay attention to self-regulation; while local community is supposed to offer them proper and considerate accommodation.
Very often international students cannot adapt to the new cultural environment well and confront a number of difficulties, including problems with “language, cultural issues, social exclusion, finance, homesickness, and other issues” (Sherry, Thomas and Chui 34). These problems are further classified by David Lackland Sam into four main types in an article called “Satisfaction with Life among International Student and American Student Engagement in Effective Education.” Sam states these problems as “culture shock,” “the ambassador role,” “adolescent emancipation,” and “academic stresses,” which are related to language proficiency, academic situation as well as social intercourse (318). Sam specifically refers to the problem of language disability as a huge barrier on students’ way to adaptation and academic success. Likewise, in an article called “Welcome to America? International Student Perceptions of Discrimination,” written by Jenny J. Lee and Charles Rice, some more problems related with community accommodation that international students encounter are noticed. These difficulties range from perceptions of “unfairness and inhospitality” to “cultural intolerance and confrontation” (Lee and Rice 381). Compared to native students, the authors claim, international students are more eager to be accepted and to succeed. Again, this shared desire is sometimes hindered by their language ability which is something that faculty criticize them for. Some staffs that work with the international students, as Lee and Rice observe, do not care about their emotional dilemmas, such as “homesickness” and “alienation” (387). Hardly paying any attention to the cultural difficulties of international students, faculty members sometimes misunderstand their silence as lack of interest or incompetency (Lee and Rice 387).
Serving as “cultural carriers and resources” and “links between cultures,” international students are beneficial to the local community, not...

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