Securing a chance to study abroad is one of the most memorable achievements among students, especially if they enroll in countries that guarantee quality education. In most cases, bright students who demonstrate the willingness to further their studies in foreign countries get this opportunity. However, it is crucial to realize that international students are subjected to an array of challenges that cannot be overlooked.
For instance, they face financial constraints, culture shocks, and language barriers, all of which destabilize their capacity to study under comfortable conditions. This research seeks to respond to the following question: To what extent do U.S.-based international students face difficulties that interfere with their social, cultural, and financial well-being?
The above question matters as far as the comfortability of foreign students studying in America is concerned. Hence, getting evidence-based responses to the above research question is significant to the U.S. because it helps to identify challenges, which need to be addressed to ensure a smooth academic life of learners, irrespective of their geographical, personal, social, financial, and cultural conditions.
By reviewing these problems, U.S.-based universities, particularly the University of Tampa, can come up with measures aimed at helping to reduce the above constraints faced by international students. The comfortability of students, especially foreign ones, is an essential factor because learners act as a significant source of revenue that facilitates the development of this institution. Having measures in place for ensuring that all students are contented during their stay in this academic facility guarantees it a continuous flow of international learners who wish to acquire quality education under minimal social, financial, and cultural challenges.
A significant number of individuals travel across borders to seek education in countries such as Canada and the U.S. According to Lee, the number of students who are currently outside their countries in search of education abroad is more than 5 million, with almost 17% of them going to the U.S. (524). The most common reason for the decision to study abroad is that the education system in these countries is more advanced compared to what is offered in other nations.
These opportunities have been made possible by globalization whereby interested scholars have a provision to choose institutions of learning that are located anywhere across the world. However, the movement from one country to another brings about diverse cultural, social, financial, and language issues that trigger stress among international students (Liu et al. 524). Some of these issues can be examined in the context of the University of Tampa.
The University of Tampa, which is a private institution of higher learning based in Downtown Tampa, Florida, has been in existence for the last almost nine decades having a current population of close to 8000 students (“University of Tampa”). This academic center is among organizations in the U.S., which value the welfare of students, regardless of whether they are international or domestic. According to Ghannadian and Thomason, the University of Tampa has established a strategy whereby learners are taught the idea of interacting not only with coaches but also with one another, irrespective of their places of origin (36).
As revealed in another study by Simon and Washburn, this institution has embraced the idea of branding itself with a view to ensuring that stakeholders, including international and domestic learners, wish to be associated with it (78). In addition, it has put in place frameworks for ensuring that all students have access to some form of financial aid, including scholarship grants of more than $13000 (“University of Tampa”). These strategies help to break any social, financial, and cultural obstacles that may hinder international students from realizing their academic goals.
In the context of this research, cultural barriers refer to learners’ experience after realizing how far they are away from their motherlands where a different way of life prevailed. According to Villagran, international learners are introduced to new “beliefs, values, assumptions, and behaviors” (10). In their new academic environments, they are expected to cope with the external pressure of having to learn and understand a new culture.
Social differences denote the existence of new individuals whom international learners have to interact and communicate with on a daily basis. Such day-to-day contacts call for the need for learning new languages, which international learners may find problematic.
Although most countries speak English, learning it as a native language may be challenging. It is almost impossible for foreigners to understand new dialects immediately they are introduced to them. According to Larrea, international students have to struggle to learn more than two new languages as a requirement that is aimed at facilitating their understanding of subjects (90). Financial constraints denote the insufficiency of funds that are meant to facilitate their stay in foreign lands in their endeavor to pursue education.
Examining financial, social, and cultural difficulties, including language barriers encountered by international scholars, is crucial. However, the former aspect of finance is found to be the most challenging problem that learners from foreign lands have to deal with in the course of their studies.
International students undergo financial difficulties, regardless of whether they are government-financed or self-sponsored. Many of these learners join academic institutions that are located in countries where the cost of living is usually high when compared to their places of origin. One of such expensive countries is the U.S. As a result, an international self-sponsored scholar who join learning centers based in the U.S. find it difficult to study comfortably.
Their financial limitations cannot allow them to access any luxurious services that are meant to boost their learning. Most people assume that academic finances are the most important, especially for sponsored students. This belief is false because learners also need money for upkeep. It is difficult for a student in a foreign country to adjust conveniently if they are financially constrained (Lee 524). Students who receive full sponsorships also confessed to needing more than what is provided for them.
According to Rebisz and Grygiel, financial constraints form part of the most prevalent challenges faced by international students (336). Other factors make international students disadvantaged regarding finances when compared to local students. These additional problems include the lack of loans for international students, the high exchange rate that exists between the U.S. dollar and other currencies, and the prohibition of working outside campus (Rebisz and Grygiel 346). Although many students who study abroad are sponsored, either privately or by the government, constraints on finances destabilize their normal operations (Lee 524).
These financial problems may lead to students being less productive in academics. Since international learners bring revenue to their countries and the respective institutions, it is vital to address all financial problems internally or externally. Managing these economic issues can reduce other related challenges. Attempts for addressing this problem in countries such as Saudi Arabia have been made by funding academic projects of international scholars. My research seeks to find solutions to these problems faced by international students not only in the University of Tampa but also across all other institutions in the U.S.
Ghannadian, Frank, and Stephanie Thomason. “Coaching Tomorrow’s Leaders: One-on-One Coaching Sessions at the University of Tampa Prepare Students to Succeed in the Business World.” BizEd, vol. 16, no. 5, 2017, pp. 36-38.
This article demonstrates the University of Trampa’s efforts to coach learners in a teamwork environment as a way of preparing them to become effective future leaders.
Larrea, Aixa K. C. “Language Barriers: New Way of Interpreting Within the New Integration Scenarios.” Megatrend Review, vol. 10, no. 2, 2013, pp. 85-97.
This article presents the issue of language barrier in schools and various mechanisms that schools deploy to facilitate education and communication in a culturally diverse learning setting.
Lee, Cheng-Fei. “Exploring Motivations for Studying Abroad: A Case Study of Taiwan.” Tourism Analysis, vol. 22, no. 4, 2017, pp. 523-536. Web.
This study examines issues that persuade learners to decide to seek studies abroad, including elements that determine the country to select for their courses.
Liu, Yang et al. “Path Analysis of Acculturative Stress Components and Their Relationship with Depression Among International Students in China.” Stress & Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, vol. 32, no. 5, 2016, pp. 524-532. Web.
This study highlights stress as the major outcome of financial, social, and cultural challenges faced by learners studying abroad.
Rebisz, Slawomir, and Pawel Grygiel. “Fears and Difficulties Experienced by Ukrainian Nationals during their Period of Study in Poland.” European Education, vol. 50, no. 4, 2018, pp. 336-352.
This research reveals diverse problems that learners in foreign countries go through, including financial constraints. It focuses on Ukrainian learners who seek education in Poland.
Simon, Gary L., and Judith H. Washburn. “A Perspective on Program Branding in an Education Institution: One Growing University’s Experience with Branding its Programs.” Society for Marketing Advances Proceedings, vol. 25, 2013, pp. 78-79.
This source presents the University of Trampa’s efforts to brand its programs with a view to attracting more scholars.
“University of Tampa.” U.S.News. Web.
This article provides details regarding the University of Trampa’s location, student population, academic life, and its various departments.
Villagran, Michele A. L. “Cultural Intelligence: Ability to Adapt to New Cultural Settings.” Knowledge Quest, vol. 46, no. 5, 2018, pp. 9-14.
This article defines culture and provides an approach that can be used to overcome cultural challenges in new environments.