International students in English speaking universities

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22 April 2016

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With the brisk pace of economic globalization, higher education is becoming more internationalized as well. An increasing number of students choose to receive higher education abroad in countries like the US, the UK and Australia, where there are many world-class universities that are expected to provide high-quality education for both domestic and overseas students.

However, due to various reasons, and often out of their expectation, international students inevitably meet kinds of problems and difficulties that hinder them from integrating with the new environment, especially heavily impact their life and learning at university. This essay will account for the difficulties that international students may encounter in their adjustment and achievement, using the Leslie and Smith (2004) and Andrade (2006) to support the points.

Emotion changes
Due to the cultural differences, most international students feel shocked. They leave home and parental care, studying in an unfamiliar country. Rajapaksa and Dundes (2000) discovered that international students felt more lonely and homesick than domestic students. “Their adjustment was affected by their satisfaction with social networks as opposed to the number of close friends.” (Andrade, 2006). In this case, international students may feel difficult to achieve the targets.

On the other hands, international students can be easier to get angry because of lack of language proficiency then they often do not understand what is going on.

Passive VS Active
Based on the past study in their own countries, international student consider that learning is passive. However, now in English speaking universities, learning become more active. (Leslie and Smith, 2004) International students have difficulty understanding spoken English and have weak writing skills whereas students criticized instructors for their use of colloquial English and rapid speech. Similarly, professors felt students did not take responsibility for their own learning while students found professors indifferent. (Robertson et al., 2000)

As a result, international students need more and more independent study by themselves. They also have to be initiative. It is Another research demonstrated that international students preferred to work alone, which supports a common view that international students dislike group work. (Sarkodie- Mensah, 1998) Also, they reported valuing warm, friendly relationships with their instructors in contrast with the belief that international students are accustomed to a formal student-professor relationship.

(Sarkodie- Mensah, 1998). Although, students need more group work in English speaking universities and they should know how to work cooperatively, they still need to learn how to work by themselves when they write essays and review for the exams.

Teaching tools
It is worth mentioning that there are a lot more advanced facilities in English speaking universities than at home. (Leslie and Smith, 2004) There are a lot of computers in library so that students can use to find information to make preparation for essay or presentation. In addition to this, students all have their own text books back home and sometimes teachers give them lots of photocopied handouts.( Leslie and Smith, 2004) There are three other pertinent interventions for international students.

One involves using outreach support groups to help international students who may need counseling but are reluctant to initiate contact (Smith et al., 1999); however, actual adjustment is not measured. Another outlines ideas for web-based orientation (Murphy et al., 2002) and the third suggests a multi-phase approach to orientation (Lin and Yi, 1997) (Andrade, 2006) Also, content-based ESL courses, learning communities, support courses, comprehensive programming and peer study partnerships have been successful in providing international students with academic support. (Andrade, 2006)

Due to various reasons, international students have to encounter many problems when they study in English speaking universities. The adjustment issues raised in this review should be considered to enhance the mutually rewarding practice of international study.

Andrade, 2006 p3-4, p7
Leslie and Smith’ survey, 2004, p13-14

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"International students in English speaking universities" StudyScroll, 22 April 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). International students in English speaking universities [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 1 February, 2023]

"International students in English speaking universities" StudyScroll, Apr 22, 2016. Accessed Feb 1, 2023.

"International students in English speaking universities" StudyScroll, Apr 22, 2016.

"International students in English speaking universities" StudyScroll, 22-Apr-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 1-Feb-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). International students in English speaking universities. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 1-Feb-2023]

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