Study Abroad or Not? Part I (Revision)

“Let’s be honest: While a lot of good people are deeply invested in the transformative value of international education, a lot of money is changing hands in the study-abroad business. If study abroad is to assume a more central role in undergraduate education, we need to let go of the mythology and act on what we already know about… the impact of study-abroad marketing messages on diverse students’ intent to study abroad and what learning outcomes can realistically be expected from study abroad,” wrote by study abroad expert Mark Salisbury.

Recently I read some articles talking about the disadvantages of studying abroad and why students should not choose to study abroad but studying in their native countries. Many people argue that people are necessary to rethink about study abroad. Based on Salisbury’s idea, there are several reasons that convince readers not to study abroad are listed in many blogs, forums, and education webpages. They believe studying abroad is not as good as many people dream. How do you think about it?

In the past, study abroad has been only for wealthy people in a high social class; normal people focused only on the traditional method, studying in their native countries. In recent years, the opportunity to study abroad is becoming available for all people in the world. Increasing numbers of people choose to receive degrees in countries other than their native lands. A Harvard University study research of students studying abroad shows that “the number of international students worldwide rose from 0.8 million in 1975 to 3.7 million in 2009. In addition, the number is increasing by about 12% each year.” The increase of study abroad means that people are no longer limited; they have a chance to choose wherever they want to receive their education. However, many students, parents, and educators are starting to ask whether study abroad is really better than studying in their native country. I believe that both study abroad and study near home have advantages; however, as an international student, I chose to study abroad because I think it does offer more advantages.

thank-you-note-for-every-language-a4e7a4e6a4e4918342f6

A  dissenting opinion is “The first disadvantage of studying abroad is the difficulty of communicating with people.” However, I believe, for one, study abroad is the best way to learn a language. In “Study Abroad Has Global Benefit,” the author Ann McClure  shows that “most research on the benefits of study abroad has focused on the individual benefit to participants, such as language acquisition” (McClure11). Even though most countries encourage their citizens to learn second or third languages, people mainly speak their first language. It is hard for many to learn a foreign language when they live and study in their native countries because they have few chances to practice the new skills. This is one reason international students are challenged by the language when they first arrive. In addition, foreign countries often have a good language learning environment because students are forced to speak, hear, read, and write in a foreign language. They have opportunities to communicate with locals and to learn typical slang. During this process, students can turn short-term memory of a foreign language into long-term memory, starting to use the foreign language as fluently as their own. As Nate Nault says in his blog, “There are certain aspects of a language which can only be learned through experience.” There is no better way to learn a foreign language than by the “immersion” method.

Beyond language acquisition, people also acquire other benefits from study abroad.

lifeskills_bannerThese programs allow people to develop life skills that enable them to become more independent. International students stay far away from their parents and families, so when they meet difficulties, they must to find solutions on their own. Skills such as independence, decision making, time and financial management, and social skills will develop exponentially when studying abroad. In “Why Are They Better Students When They Come Back? Determinants of Academic Focusing Gains in the Study Abroad Experience,” Montclair State University Professor Benjamin Hadis says, Away from direct family contact-despite the ease of telephone and e-mail communication–a sojourn abroad within the structured context of a study abroad program is a ground conducive to taking responsibility for making one’s own decisions and to learn, with pleasure, that one can indeed do so” (6). International students cannot rely on their parents or families when studying abroad, so they must learn enough skills to survive in a foreign country. These skills will play significant roles in their lives.

Work Cites

McClure, Ann. “Study Abroad Has Global Benefit.” University Business, 12.4 (2009): 11.

Sood, Suemedha. “The Statistics of Studying Abroad.” BBC Travel, 09.26 (2012). Web, 07,06,2013.

Nault, Nate. “10 Reasons for Study Abroad.” Study Abroad Blog,. Web 07, 05, 2013.

Hadis, Benjamin F. “Why Are They Better Students when They Come Back? Determinants of Academic Focusing Gains in the Study Abroad Experience.” Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 11 (2005): 57-70.

Salisbury, Mark. “We’re Muddying the Message on Study Abroad.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. Jul, 30, 2012. Web. Jul, 07, 2013. 

“Disadvantages of Studying Abroad.” 123HelpMe.com. 10 Jul 2013 . <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=34547&gt;.

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Study Abroad or Not? Part II

For almost a thousand years, the wave of people studying abroad has been constantly advancing, with a large number of outstanding talents and erudite people emerging. Nowadays, many people are aware of the positive and negative impacts of studying abroad. For me, I think there are great differences between studying in your native country and studying in a foreign country.

open-mindedStudying abroad can help students expand their worldview. International students will learn and experience things that are very different from their native countries, making them more open-minded and global-minded.  In “Why Are They Better Students When They Come Back? Determinants of Academic Focusing Gains in the Study Abroad Experience,”Professor Benjamin Hadis explains that “It is commonly accepted among international educators that the wrenching experience of culture shock among those studying abroad is a preamble to an ability to take distance from both one’s home- and one’s host-society. This open-mindedness will be acquired on a permanent basis by the person experiencing it, who will transfer it to, and adopt it in the home society upon return.” Almost every foreign student will meet “culture shock” when studying abroad, experiencing many unfamiliar things in the new environment. Even though it is hard to adapt to the strange environment, most foreign students still force themselves to integrate into the foreign culture. Through this process, culture shock comes to a positive effect for foreign students by opening their minds to new situations and ideas. Students who have experienced global education are always coming up with many new and diverse ideas.

open-mindedPeople who choose to study abroad will acquire global-mindedness. Professor Hadis says that “the prevailing college student culture tends to be indifferent to the international scene, geographically illiterate, and ignorant about world affairs. Global mindedness entails a concern for issues and processes that affect the world, as well as awareness that local issues are connected to global ones.” Studying in foreign countries allows students to understand other societies, foreign news and events, and how foreign people look upon other countries. When studying abroad, international students learn to see the current global affairs and  issues in a different way. Their understanding of other societies and foreign people are very important to a global society.

life-skills-lessonsStudying abroad can also help people acquire more employment opportunities. Many people attend college or university to receive higher education so they can get a good job that enables them to earn enough money to live comfortably. Studying in global classrooms and graduating from good foreign colleges will enhance the value of the bachelor and master degrees or certificates, opening more employment opportunities when students return. In “The Study Abroad Advantage”, the author Luis Martinez, a professional writer, says that “The modern job market has witnessed study abroad emanating as a differentiating factor. In many cases, these applicants are more culturally aware and possess the adventurous spirit that lends to the productive, creative thinking necessary to excel in any organization or company. Graduate, medical, and law school committees also look favorably upon experiences abroad.” Most countries in the world are now become globalized. They are increasingly investing money into the international market and inviting foreign investments and international companies to do business in their countries. With a global working environment, people who study abroad return home with more complete opinions on other cultures and people. These people face less language barriers and are more independent, open-minded, and organized when doing work. In employers’ minds, people who study abroad are able to deal with diverse problems and situations. Their experience abroad, knowledge of other cultures, and language skills will highlight their positive attributes in relation to other job applicants.

Work Cites

Hadis, Benjamin F. “Why Are They Better Students when They Come Back? Determinants of Academic Focusing Gains in the Study Abroad Experience.” Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 11 (2005): 57-70.

Martinez, Luis. “The Study Abroad Advantage.” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 28.19 (2011): 25.

Study Abroad or Not? Part I

Recently I read some articles talking about the disadvantages of studying abroad and why students should not choose to study abroad but studying in their native countries. The authors list several reasons to convince readers that study abroad is not as good as many people dream. How do you think about it?

In the past, study abroad has been only for wealthy people in a high social class; normal people focused only on the traditional method, studying in their native countries. In recent years, the opportunity to study abroad is becoming available for all people in the world. Increasing numbers of people choose to receive degrees in countries other than their native lands. A Harvard University study research of students studying abroad shows that “the number of international students worldwide rose from 0.8 million in 1975 to 3.7 million in 2009. In addition, the number is increasing by about 12% each year.” The increase of study abroad means that people are no longer limited; they have a chance to choose wherever they want to receive their education. However, many students, parents, and educators are starting to ask whether study abroad is really better than studying in their native country. I believe that both study abroad and study near home have advantages; however, as an international student, I chose to study abroad because I think it does offer more advantages.

thank-you-note-for-every-language-a4e7a4e6a4e4918342f6For one, study abroad is the best way to learn a language. In “Study Abroad Has Global Benefit,” the author Ann McClure  shows that “most research on the benefits of study abroad has focused on the individual benefit to participants, such as language acquisition” (McClure11). Even though most countries encourage their citizens to learn second or third languages, people mainly speak their first language. It is hard for many to learn a foreign language when they live and study in their native countries because they have few chances to practice the new skills. This is one reason international students are challenged by the language when they first arrive. In addition, foreign countries often have a good language learning environment because students are forced to speak, hear, read, and write in a foreign language. They have opportunities to communicate with locals and to learn typical slang. During this process, students can turn short-term memory of a foreign language into long-term memory, starting to use the foreign language as fluently as their own. As Nate Nault says in his blog, “There are certain aspects of a language which can only be learned through experience.” There is no better way to learn a foreign language than by the “immersion” method.

Beyond language acquisition, people also acquire other benefits from study abroad.

lifeskills_bannerThese programs allow people to develop life skills that enable them to become more independent. International students stay far away from their parents and families, so when they meet difficulties, they must to find solutions on their own. Skills such as independence, decision making, time and financial management, and social skills will develop exponentially when studying abroad. In “Why Are They Better Students When They Come Back? Determinants of Academic Focusing Gains in the Study Abroad Experience,” Montclair State University Professor Benjamin Hadis says, Away from direct family contact-despite the ease of telephone and e-mail communication–a sojourn abroad within the structured context of a study abroad program is a ground conducive to taking responsibility for making one’s own decisions and to learn, with pleasure, that one can indeed do so” (6). International students cannot rely on their parents or families when studying abroad, so they must learn enough skills to survive in a foreign country. These skills will play significant roles in their lives.

Work Cites

McClure, Ann. “Study Abroad Has Global Benefit.” University Business, 12.4 (2009): 11.

Sood, Suemedha. “The Statistics of Studying Abroad.” BBC Travel, 09.26 (2012). Web, 07,06,2013.

Nault, Nate. “10 Reasons for Study Abroad.” Study Abroad Blog,. Web 07, 05, 2013.

Hadis, Benjamin F. “Why Are They Better Students when They Come Back? Determinants of Academic Focusing Gains in the Study Abroad Experience.” Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 11 (2005): 57-70.

Impacts of International Students on the United States (Revision)

Statistical data provided by the Institute of International Education show that, compared to the 2010-2011 academic year, “the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 6.5% to 764,495 during the 2011-2012 academic year.” What do these data mean? A greater number of foreigners are now studying and living in the United States, and more people are coming for valuable knowledge and experience. Studying in the United States really affects and changes foreign students’ lives, so I want to know foreign students also cause an impact on this country.

Positive Influences

shutterstock_101980843“During the 2011–2012 academic year, NAFSA estimates that international students and their dependents contributed approximately $21.81 billion to the U.S. economy–up from $20.23 billion the previous year” (Institute of International Education). Foreign students studying here have a positive effect on the U.S economy. As we know, international students need to pay full tuition and high non-resident fees to schools every semester. International students are also spending money on housing, food, health insurance, books, transportation, and other supplies. These students’ living expenses and tuition fees provide big revenue to the U.S. economy.

Road-Sign-Vacation-Travel-USAForeign students studying here also have a positive effect on some businesses. For example, more foreign students coming to the United States leads to higher tourism revenue because students want to travel during summer, winter, and spring vacations. In America, such as New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Hawaii are the popular cities for travel. Famous scenic spots, such as Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Everglades National Park, and Yellow Stone National Park are also attracting million tourists every year including international students. Kathryn Ann Payne, Professor at Southern Cross University, says that “An emerging but significant export industry is the education export industry, where students and, in particular, tertiary-aged students study outside their country of birth” (Payne 8). Professor Payne points out that foreign students are not only travelling themselves during their vacation but also inviting their parents and relatives to travel the foreign countries together. As I know that my friends’ parents visit them at least once a year, and they spend one month or more to travel in the U.S., and they always bring a lot of luxury goods and gifts back to their home. In addition, Professor Payne also points out that “When international students engage in travel during their time of study this can generate significant revenue and employment opportunities for a country” (Payne 9). With the developing of the U.S. tourism business, people in the U.S. will get more job opportunities. It is not only good for this country’s economic but also good for people’s livelihood.

Negative Influences Existimages

Many universities in the United States have unequal school policies. In “How Foreign Students Hurt U.S. Innovation,” Norman Matloff points out, “Last year, a public institution just south of Oakland directed its master’s degree programs to admit only non-California students, including foreign students.” I know that many U.S. universities are likely to offer the most admissions to international students because they pay full tuition. In addition, some American universities do not accept American transfer students in the spring semester. Because international students account for most of the spring placements, many American students have to wait another semester.

Some educators point out that foreign students cause U.S. Universities to lose their diversity characteristics. Andrea van Niekirk, former Associate Director of Admission at Brown University, cited a study showing that students coming from India are likely to study engineering and STEM majors, and a large group of Chinese students major in business. Niekirk believes that “drawing so many international undergraduates from so few countries may affect academic diversity in American higher education”.

Work Cites

Institute of International Education. <http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors>

NAFSA. <http://www.nafsa.org/Explore_International_Education/Impact/Data_And_Statistics/International_Education_Data___Statistics/>

Matloff, Norman. “How Foreign Students Hurt U.S. Innovation.” <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-12/glut-of-foreign-students-hurts-u-s-innovation.html>

Niekirk,  Andrea van. “Foreign Students are Actually Making US Universities Less Diverse.” <http://qz.com/71062/international-students-are-making-us-universities-more-homogenous-not-more-global/>

Payne, Kathryn Ann. “Domestic travel by international students in New Zealand.” <http://epubs.scu.edu.au>

Overcoming Difficult College Classes

imagesHave you ever failed a college course? How many classes have you dropped? I have heard many of my classmates and friends say that they failed their classes, or they could not complete the classes so they dropped them. Some of my close friends complain to me about their difficult classes and their lower grades. I remember one of my school advisers told me that it is common to fail a class, and suggested that I drop or withdraw from a class that I felt I could not complete. However, it is not easy for an international student to drop a class because the university requires foreign students to keep twelve credits in a semester. I believe nobody wants to fail their classes, and especially not international students because it is too expensive for them to take a class.

Recently I read Ho Tra’s article “How International Students Can Cope with Difficult Classes,” which gives several advice that can help international students perform better in difficult classes. The following advice is very useful for international students:下载

  1. “Pick classes wisely,” Ho suggests that it is better for foreign students to not choose the high level, or professional level classes in the beginning, such as History of Philosophy or Psychology. If international students are very interested in taking classes like Philosophy or Psychology, they are better off taking the basic and language classes first.
  2. “Get help if you’re struggling,” Ho points out that most professors are likely to help students with their problems. If students get in trouble with their classes, they can ask for help from their professors. Almost every college professor provides an email address and sets office hours. If students have a problem with the class, it is easy for them to get in touch with their professors. In addition, most classes and school departments provide free tutoring services to students so they can get extra help to solve difficult problems.
  3. “Study hard and be patient,” Ho says that international students should spend more time studying as compared to the American students. I agree with him, English is the second language for international students, so naturally their reading speed is lower, and they have to take more time to understand the material and to memorize facts. International students will always encounter more barriers to studying than American students. Therefore, it is necessary for international students to study extra hard.

I believe that every international student will inevitably face problems and difficulties with their college classes. However foreign students should listen to good advice and get help to let them overcome their academic difficulties.

Work Cite

Ho, Tra. “How International Students Can Cope with Difficult Classes.” <http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/international-student-counsel/2013/06/20/how-international-students-can-cope-with-difficult-classes>

Impacts of International Students on the United States

Statistical data provided by the Institute of International Education show that, compared to the 2010-2011 academic year, “the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 6.5% to 764,495 during the 2011-2012 academic year.” What do these data mean? A greater number of foreigners are now studying and living in the United States, and more people are coming for valuable knowledge and experience. Studying in the United States really affects and changes foreign students’ lives, so I want to know foreign students also cause an impact on this country.

Positive Influences

shutterstock_101980843

“During the 2011–2012 academic year, NAFSA estimates that international students and their dependents contributed approximately $21.81 billion to the U.S. economy–up from $20.23 billion the previous year” (Institute of International Education). Foreign students studying here have a positive effect on the U.S economy. As we know, international students need to pay full tuition and high non-resident fees to schools every semester. International students are also spending money on housing, food, health insurance, books, transportation, and other supplies. These students’ living expenses and tuition fees provide big revenue to the U.S. economy.

Foreign students studying here also have a positive effect on some businesses. For example, more foreign students coming to the United States leads to higher tourism revenue because students want to travel during summer, winter, and spring vacations.

Negative Influences Exist

images

Many universities in the United States have unequal school policies. In “How Foreign Students Hurt U.S. Innovation,” Norman Matloff points out, “Last year, a public institution just south of Oakland directed its master’s degree programs to admit only non-California students, including foreign students.” I know that many U.S. universities are likely to offer the most admissions to international students because they pay full tuition. In addition, some American universities do not accept American transfer students in the spring semester. Because international students account for most of the spring placements, many American students have to wait another semester.

Some educators point out that foreign students cause U.S. Universities to lose their diversity characteristics. Andrea van Niekirk, former Associate Director of Admission at Brown University, cited a study showing that students coming from India are likely to study engineering and STEM majors, and a large group of Chinese students major in business. Niekirk believes that “drawing so many international undergraduates from so few countries may affect academic diversity in American higher education”.

Work Cites

Institute of International Education. <http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors>

NAFSA. <http://www.nafsa.org/Explore_International_Education/Impact/Data_And_Statistics/International_Education_Data___Statistics/>

Matloff, Norman. “How Foreign Students Hurt U.S. Innovation.” <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-12/glut-of-foreign-students-hurts-u-s-innovation.html>

Niekirk,  Andrea van. “Foreign Students are Actually Making US Universities Less Diverse.” <http://qz.com/71062/international-students-are-making-us-universities-more-homogenous-not-more-global/>

Culture Immersion, communication technology, and studying abroad (Revision)

“Communication technology connecting people around world!” we can often hear these words in the cell phone, computer, and internet companies’ advertisements. In reality, people from different countries can become friends on the internet; friends and relatives living or working in different places can easily get in touch through internet and phone. It is true that the rapid development communication technology brings a lot of convenience to us. However, many people point out that these high communication technologies were not benefit all people. How communication technology impacts these people? Why should they be aware of use communication tools?

thumb_COLOURBOX3794523“Navigating the new digital environment is perhaps the thorniest challenge facing the study-abroad profession, given the complexity of the relationships and trade-offs inherent in every choice we make—but the stakes are too high for us to simply ignore it,”said by Robert Huesca in his article named “How Facebook Can Ruin Study Abroad”.

“Americans on study abroad spent more than four hours per night communicating back home via the likes of Skype, Google Chat and Facebook,” shows by Justin Pope, the Associated Press at U.S Today News in his article “American students abroad pushed out of ‘bubbles’”.

Huesca sets Facebook as a representative communication tool that affects people’s study abroad lives by preventing them from integrating foreign culture because people do not pay all of their attention on the host country but still pay lots of their time on talking back to their native countries. Pope believes that when international students spend time on communicate back to their home country they are out of the host countries’ environment. In addition, the problem is that international students no longer forced themselves to integrate into the foreign culture because they are easily connecting back to their native countries by using high communication technology. Many international students lose their conscious of culture Immersion, one of the most important essences of study abroad

What is culture Immersion?

cultural-immersion-hero-image

Rodriguez Karen, study abroad adviser, shows “Culture Immersion is the ability to see things from another point of view and evaluate situations not as American students, but as local community members. It is an awareness of how one is informed by one’s own culture and makes sense of cultural differences subjectively.”

For me, as a foreign student in the U.S, I spend average six hours per night talking with my family and chatting with my friends in Chinese. I felt that connecting with my home country and talking with friends who speak same language could lower the impact from strange foreign culture, and do not need to endure homesick. These communication tools reduced most my study abroad pressure, but I misunderstand the way of using them. Most of my friends around me run into the same situation like me. Compare myself to the early Chinese foreign students I found that I am still accustomed to talking, thinking, and behaving in Chinese ways. I believe most people choose to study abroad because they want to learn new things and different culture, want to see other worlds. Integrating into the foreign community to understand how they live their lives, interacting with local people by talking to them and joining their activities, these are the most effective way to immerse the foreign culture and to achieve goals of study abroad.