- Structure of Classroom Lectures
For a native student, the methods and presentation styles of classroom lectures are very familiar. For international students, classroom lectures can be quite confusing based upon their timings and different venues. Abroad, students are in the same classroom throughout the day. Students find addressing the faculty and interacting with them quite stressful. They may not understand clearly what the professors tell them to do, but the fear of sounding ignorant could be a deterrence to ask for further directions.
Students need to have a support system in place as they arrive. Lack of support groups and the absence of easily accessible help-lines may pose problems. It can be corrected with pre-counseling programs and mentoring. Usually, most of the orientation programs miss the whole point and they do not address the social aspect of adapting to a new culture. It would help if a former international student shares his or her experiences.
For those students who travel abroad for the first time, homesickness usually hits them during the first few weeks to a few months later. Educational institutions should let them know of the international call facilities that are available to them, so they can contact home with greater ease.
When native born friends get together, it is sometimes at the local pubs and dance halls; however, international students may find it difficult to merge into such a culture. For instance, a foreign student may not be used to the pub scenes in North America, therefore they tend to stay alone or congregate with other international students. Educational institutions can offer venues where international students can mingle freely with the native students. During those events a cultural exchange can strengthen the both native and non-native students.
Counseling, giving free access to writing style guides and conducting English as a Second Language (ESL) classes can also soften the cultural shock for international students. They will then hopefully see a reduced rate in the problems of international students and isolation.
As Europe, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, China and Czech Republic are posed to intensify their international student intake, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia are still leading the pack in enrollments of international students. By assessing the existing hurdles and finding solutions, the international students can have a better experience in the country of their choice. Ernest Thompson Seton wrote (see work cited), “Manhood, not scholarship, is the first aim of Education." Creating awareness of international students among faculty members and native students is crucial in breaking down barriers in isolation.
Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
Hubbard, Elbert. (1923). Elbert Hubbard's Scrap Book: New York City: The Roycrofters.
The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, http://www.aucc.ca/policy/priorities/international-students_e.html