PROBLEMS FACED BY INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN THE UK. Many of the problems that students experience in adjusting to university life are intensified for students from abroad. Robinson (2009) explains that there is an increasing number of international students’ studying in the UK, international students are faced by a range of problems and these can result in different outcomes. Some possible problems are immigration, different academic culture and financial problems due to expensive cost of living. In this essay, the details of the problems and some possible solutions will be shown and evaluated upon.

Firstly, cultural adjustment is not always certain or declared as an issue by the international students and is ruled out by student concerns about study conditions, expectations and methods to teaching and learning; assigned work; communicating and studying with the use of computers; lack of social interaction; and the burden of assignment and examination questions, Fotiadis (2001). Different countries have different methods of learning. Students are most likely to become unfamiliar with a new learning method. This takes us to the problem of different academic culture.

Only a few students might be lucky to escape this problem as they might have used the same learning method back in their home country. Areas like assignment at regular periods which definitely has to be done perhaps on the internet and submitted on time, deadline of coursework’s and as the situation may be, you happen to miss the deadline, and you are not able to come up with some good reasons, the lecturer might deduct a sum of marks from the overall module or rather still not accept it which definitely implies that that particular student has no score for that coursework. The coursework may be 5-15% of the overall course mark.

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Also having to do midterm test where this might weigh another 20-40% of the overall course mark which indirectly leaves 50-100% for the final exams, making the final exams not so stressful are all aspects of difficulties faced in different academic culture life whereby people coming from their own country may not have been using the kind of system used in the UK. The very fact of being in a new and different academic culture life could make a student depressed. But also, “…academic culture is preserved, regenerated, and communicated through a process of socialisation” (Ashforth, & Mael, cited in Ravi and Venkatraman, 2010).

An international student joining a university abroad for the first time may seem not to understand and follow up the academic culture common in the university due to lack of socialisation. For instance, when the student is challenged by academic problem on maybe how to write an essay, it is expected that a student may not have enough understanding of the topic and therefore is forced through this process to socialise because that student would not be willing to fail. International students are continually confronted with their own academic way of life.

The situation of a student adjusting to a different academic culture may lack understanding in the first few weeks of his or her stay or maybe a term before getting on to understanding the new academic culture successfully. Engagement in collective group learning might well benefit a student to student experience which allows establishment of cultural differences a better foundation for collective understanding. Also by developing a social network or developing a group in a social network that has already been established could make students build up a friendship or it could be creating orientation events so as for the students to interact.

The possible problems about this situation is that the student may feel unhappy with everything and also loses confidence in his or her academic skills, loses peer confidence or better still making wrong decisions about future directions. Secondly, another major problem today faced by international students in the UK is the immigration category. Immigration is a type of migration in which people enter into another country. Immigration control is all about how and why. Why people in other countries outside the UK are granted the opportunity to come to the UK and also how long they are allowed staying.

As it is known that for any student coming to study in the UK must pass through some new format of application. This has been an issue for a while now concerning the students going through many steps before applying for the student visa. At a particular period of time, the government gave treatment to the immigration system and came out with a points based system for, among others, international students applying for the student visa, (Shepherd, 2009). So far, it was known that it was not a fortune as many people experienced it.

This new UK Tier 4 policy was introduced on the 31st of March, 2009. This policy and enforcement action is said to believe that for any student applying for a visa as an international student coming to study in the UK, the student must have at least an extra six hundred pounds for a month and also four hundred pounds for each dependant in living expenses and also the international students are expected to show that they can afford their tuition fees twenty-eight days before they apply, all these in a statement bank account in their own name for the first year of study.

They would also need a biometric identity card and have to have received their exam results by the time they are applying for the visa. This did not end there. The (UK border agency, 2011) required that the students take an English language test in other to test their level of English. They made available varieties of the English language test; some were Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and many other. All these accounts for the forty points clearance where the Entry Clearance Manager will check if the required forty points has been met or not.

All these are too much for a student visa and would take too much and too long time to process. However, a student is definitely likely to be affected under the UK immigration law whether the student has been denied a UK student visa by not meeting the necessary forty points required or was not able to pass the English language test. All these could put a student in a worried situation and could make the student change his or her mind from coming to the UK because no other countries imposes this restriction and thereby which might begin to reduce their overall economic benefits generated from the overseas student.

On the other hand, the policy can be of good to the economy so as to prevent high cost of living, increase in crime wave, few job opportunities, pressure on natural resources and many more. Finally, the financial problem is said to be another major problem faced by international student in the UK. Prices and earnings have risen abundantly since 1971, (Hill, 2011). These financial problems also include travel and insurance, course, accommodation, living cost, council tax and many more. The fees alone of the host university is said to be high although it may vary.

Students may pay home fees while some may pay overseas fees. Expensive cost of living may have effect on students’ performance and in some cases causes the exit of students from their programme or develop heavy bills. Accommodation cost for international students may cost more as the economy level in various countries vary. Those who stay in their host university accommodation may find it cheaper than those who look for private accommodation. Also those who stay in private accommodations are likely to pay tax whereas those in the host university accommodation do not get to pay ax. The costs of items in the UK like clothes, accessories, and so on are also very costly for a student except for a few that are less expensive. The financial world for UK consumers is extremely incomparable in this era than it was years ago (Naylor, cited in Hill, 2011). Students are expected to have a part-time job while they study in the UK to cover most university living cost. They are expected to have a national insurance card before they are granted to work in the UK as a student with a maximum of ten hours a week.

This will enable them to be able to cover up any bill not paid but on the other hand can affect them while studying in the university. It is not easy to do both work and lecture whereas the most important thing is the lecture. International students must not only learn the rules of the game but also learn to apply them in a strategic way. As students move between universities on different continents, they are expected to adjust rapidly to any challenge of their host university. To conclude, many factors contribute to the problems that international students meet.

The students and universities should work together and take to solve these problems. Reference: Fotiadis, E. (2001). International students’ problems and solutions: Report on International Students (for the Pandora Research). Unisanet online. Retrieved November 19, 2011, from http://www. unisanet. unisa. edu. au/pandora/04%20pp55-76%20students. pdf Hill, A. (2011). The cost of living: 1971 vs today. In Work:Life UK. The Guardian. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://www. guardian. co. uk/worklifeuk/cost-of-living-1971-today? CMP=KNCMICTXT9136 Ravi, N. R. & Venkatraman, S. (2010). A pilot study into international students’ academic culture: the context of Indian business students in an Australian University. The All-New Silicon. com. Retrieved December 3, 2011, from http://www. findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_6786/is_2_4/ai_n57490222/ Robinson, P. A. (2009). Changing academics: exploring international PhD students’ perspectives on ‘host’ and ‘home’ universities. Taylor & Francis online. Retrieved November 22, 2011, from http://www. tandfonline. com/doi/abs/10. 1080/07294360903046876? journalCode=cher


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