It is evidently clear that international students are important sources of diversity in many American colleges but little is known about their experiences in these colleges (Chu et al, pg. 2). It is believed that for students in a foreign country or a new land, a positive social interaction could translate into a greater psychological well-being and a positive social adjustment process (Hashim, pg. 1). International students tend to engage more in educational activities in their first years of college and this translates to greater gains in personal and social development. However, in their senior years, they tend to behave more likely like their American counterparts. Their engagement patterns of both sets of students seem to converge at senior levels in college.
The presence of international students in colleges provides a learning environment that promote and value diversity as well as exposing students to the multiple and competitive perspectives that would challenge previous assumptions. Most international students who enroll in American universities experience culture shock when they arrive for their studies in the American colleges which are usually manifested in the form of anxiety, stress, feelings of rejection and isolation. Friendship networks become a critical factor in how these students would come with such stress as this may help them adapt more quickly to college life in their new found country. Recent studies show that international students seem to make friends with students from other nations than those ones from their host country (Chu et al, pg 3).
However as the years progress by, international students get accustomed to the American way of living and make more friends. This in turn leads to less engagement in academic activities and focus more on other extracurricular activities which in turn translate to lower academic performances. It is true that activities that promote elements of social interaction encourage the international students to participate in more college activities hence enabling them to perform well in all areas which include sports and education. Engagement in college activities leads to high levels of learning and personal development amongst the international students. International students engage more in educational activities in their first years of college but in later years they become more like their American counterparts. It is for this reason that it becomes necessary for colleges to advice international students on how to make transition into the American colleges to be able to attain their educational objectives.
Chui.M. et al. (2007). A Comparison of International Student and American Student Engagement in Effective Educational Practices. The Ohio State University Press, 2005.
Sam, D. L. (2001). Satisfaction with life among international students: An exploratory study.
Social indicators research, 53(3), 315-337.