America is one of a few countries with the highest number of students from foreign countries enrolled in schools and universities. These students, also known as international students, move to the United States for the purpose of their studies and also get to experience different shades of American Society through their experiences on-campus and in the classroom and meeting their domestic peers. Moreover, international students in America feel very blessed and fortunate to receive world-class education that serves as a stepping stone toward a better and promising future ahead.
Do international students face challenges that their domestic peers don’t usually face?
Having to move all the way from their countries of origin and families, it is normal for international students to face a couple more challenges than their domestic allies. Firstly, culture shocks are very common as they adapt to a culture and ambience that is new to them and can be very different to what they are used to back home. Secondly, being quite far from home invites homesickness in addition to culture shocks that can usually be felt during Spring Break and Thanksgiving Break when they instead need to have a great break on a quieter campus. Thirdly, international students face language barriers, especially if they come from non-Anglophone countries, as they have to adapt to accents they aren’t familiar with and if their English proficiency levels aren’t that high.
Can there not be more?
Moreover, the pandemic highlighted some unprecedented challenges that international students faced. These included dealing with travel restrictions during the spring, which didn’t allow all to travel home after classes moved online. Those who continued to stay in the U.S. had to be in their rooms in isolation on an increasingly quieter campus and feel helpless when they thought about home and family. For those who were able to make it home safely by sprinting to catch the last few flights home before the imposition of lockdowns, they had to battle with internet connection restrictions and censorship of certain sites in the context of their respective countries of origin, and time-zone barriers with some of their classes taking place very late in the night as per their country’s time-zone. Furthermore, those currently in their home countries are uncertain about being able to get back to the U.S in time for the fall due to evolving travel restrictions, and to make it more unsettling, the recent immigration rule for the fall.
“This can’t be reality. This is definitely a nightmare I am seeing when asleep, right?
I’m afraid, it is reality.”
But what do international students bring and how do they contribute to the U.S?
It can be argued that international students contribute to the American economy. Firstly, international students usually pay full tuition fees as compared to their domestic peers that generates a lot of revenue for universities. The revenue is also used to subsidise a domestic student’s education and for scholarship funding. Those who take up on-campus employment also contribute to the productivity of the university as their work and efforts enhance the quality of services in the university, be it in Sparty’s, the Dining Halls, the Residence Halls, and the Math Learning Center at MSU. Moreover, international students tend to be quite passionate in their studies and are known to participate in research with their professors, which helps strengthen the progress of research in universities like ours.
Furthermore, international students contribute culturally and socially to the U.S as they enrich their classrooms and the multicultural vibrancy of the gorgeous American university campuses and across the country. International students bring the U.S closer to their countries and help their domestic peers to get to know about their cultures, traditions, and festivals. In addition, this is when they can share their perspectives and views during discussions in class and with one another that offer global mindedness and international appreciation, that helps bring the world together and reduce hatred and divisions. To this effect, international students even become ambassadors of the U.S to their countries of origin.
While International students face certain challenges as they move to the U.S for their studies, they do have marvelous contributions to the U.S that enrich the economy and society and facilitate exchange of perspectives and ideas that bring everyone together.