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English Resource Deficient: American Colleges Have Limited
Opportunities For International Students
April 14, 2017
The purpose of this proposal is to present my interests in international student studies and give readers the general sense of international students’ struggles in limited English proficiency, and how American colleges provide more bits of help for this particular student group. The research of this proposal will last nearly three months; international students, international student center employees, and advisors will participate in the study. International students have brought huge additional revenue to U.S. universities, but most of the American universities did not provide international students corresponding care and tutoring. As a result, American colleges should put more effort into international students’ cultural adaption lesson, English language education, and career advising.
The United States has become one of the most popular countries for international students choose to study abroad, an increasing number of international students brings advantage to American universities of inclusive multiethnic and multicultural. My research question is “English Resource Deficient is one of the main difficulties for international students study in the U.S., how could American universities better help international students by using some economical methods?”
First of all, what is the biggest problem that concerns international students? Limited English proficiency and cultural adoption issues can hinder an international student’s integration into American culture, and international students feel social difficulties among American students and the local community, which is also very commonly reflected in classes. (Elena 3) To a corresponding help, most of the American universities have English as a Second Language courses (ESL), international students organizations and International Student Center, however, could these departments and programs effectively help international students to do better in school? The answer is - not enough, they obviously need more help from current English resources.
As an international student, I have six years of study abroad experience in three different countries, which include America, Australia, and Japan. When I started to write this proposal, the first idea came up to my mind was international students - a minority group in school that is often easily neglected. I hope that my proposal could help more American universities building a more stable relationship with international students.
I found eight literature I could be used in my proposal, the authors of these documents include international students who involved in the U.S., professors from multicultural studies and ESL education teachers. All of the literature are closely connected with my research.
1. This article discusses international students came to America to using their second language to study in college. (Yakunina, 2013) A majority of international students like to stick around people from their country and feel less communicative with local students.
2. This article seeks to define the sports specialty and international students’ enrollment in the United States and the record of their acculturation after they stay in the United States for 1-3 years. (Frawley, 2015) University of Akron's international student athletes take at least 4 hours of sports training every day, so they have less time to pursue studies and exchanges with local students. Usually, their English proficiency is lesser than that of other international students. At the same time, international student-athletes are facing dietary changes and social support among several other topics experienced as difficulties for these pupils. The paper recommended that schools can do a regular basis for the international students psychological tests, as well as to encourage them to take English language courses (like ESL).
3. This article talks about international students’ changes in major and career beliefs，
acculturation after they came to the United States. (Mahadevan, 2010) At Clarkson University, 86% of international students seek to "finding a job in the United States" as their first target of study abroad in the United States, they hope to advance their professional knowledge and working opportunities after they completed higher education in American colleges. However, in the past decade, for the safety considerations after 911, the United States government decided did not increase the number of positions open for international students employment. In fact, the
number of international students increased 337% compared to 2005; the employment pressure caused international students cannot have free choice of major and profession, more than 76
percent of Indian students choose computer science and engineering related majors in order to stay relevant in the United States. At the same time, more than half of the international
students met acculturation difficulties, such as, unlikely to participate in group projects and
in-class discussion, they felt that a lot of humanity courses and social science classes are not
suited for non-English speakers to take, and preferred to enroll in more science classes.
The limitation of the study and working preference problems for international students did not give the specific solving plans for this aspect of the problem but nailed detailed survey data of how Indian, Chinese, Korean students in the United States struggling with choices of majors and occupation.
4. Kokhan, Kateryna, An argument against using standardized test scores for placement of
international undergraduate students in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, the
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013.
This article accounts for standardized tests like SAT and Test of English as a Foreign
Language (TOEFL) 's grades can not be considered as a placement test for international
undergraduate students skipping ESL courses. More and more international students decided
to come to the United States to the pursuit of a U.S. degree, more than 87 percent of
international undergraduate students are coming from a non-English speaking country. Most of the public universities are recruiting increasing number of international students to ease the financial pressure. Many international students who receive permission to skip ESL classes still experience difficulties when taking general English courses, and appropriate ESL courses are more needed for them. Although more than half of US schools are supplying ESL courses, most of them use standardized tests like SAT or TOEFL as placement tests to waive ESL classes. One of the main reasons for American colleges to waive ESL courses for international students is they do not have enough teachers for teaching ESL, as well as rational designed ESL classes at different levels. For both international undergraduate students and graduate students at American colleges, the excellent ESL courses are very necessary and significant. This article uses the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign as an example claimed that many American schools put solving the
financial problems as their priority for expanding the number of international students, I would
like to use this case to support my view that schools should not ignore the importance of
testing international students’ English level. Based on my research, admission office staff can
only judge international students’ English proficiency according to their standardized tests
and personal statement, which is unilateral. Before international students enter in colleges,
English placement test is indispensable for international students to take.
5. This article claims the international students’ working environment and different types
working visas in the United States. (Karz, 2010) As an short journal article, it provided very detailed information about international students’ flexibilities of working in various fields after
graduation, the difficulty of getting jobs with sponsorships, distinguishing types of work visas,
and its requirements, and application for getting a Social Security Number (SSN), etc. For an
international student who seeks to get an on-campus job, they do not need a working visa but need to have an SSN. For undergraduate students, working off campus is illegal, but career
center can give permission and signing prove engage for international students if they found a
major relevant internship. After international students graduated from school, they will receive one year to 17 month Optional Practical Training (OPT) period, the length of OPT depends
on different majors, STEAM students normally get longer training periods and job
opportunities than students from other majors in the U.S.
This article is very educational and useful for international students getting to know the
process of American working visas, and available job selections for students with various
majors. Working visa statuses in the United States are frequently changing with complex rules.
Career centers and international student centers have responsibilities to help international
students with work visa problems. Career centers should provide very detailed working
visa information sessions for international students.
6. This article analyzes the international students who are still learning English at school, and the assistance of transitioning from their first language to English, and how ESL courses prepare students for academic writing in colleges. (Serverino 2004) English academic writing became the hardest section for international students from outside Latin-American countries to learn, and they experienced huge differences in the characters, grammar, and sentence structure of their first language. Thus, University of Iowa ESL tutoring center partitioned international students by various geographic areas, and has given them different tutors (who can speak their mother tongue) to help them transition faster from writing in their first language to writing in English. For the beginning level ESL class, it asked international students to in their mother tongue first and then translate their writing into English. Then, the tutors will review their translation and improve their grammar and vocabulary. Also, at advanced level ESL classes, students have to think about differences between English writing and their first language writing; this training is for learning how to think in English and modify their English writing.
7. This article frames the international students in the U.S. obliging pressure of competitive
working visas quantity, financial stress and how the career center can help them in finding a suitable job after graduation. (Crockett, 2011) It is well known that international students' tuition fees are much more expensive than in-state students; also, it is tough for them to get scholarships and grants -- 61.5% of international students pay their tuition with personal and family funds. Thus, most international students feel financial stress, which is increased by limited opportunities to find a job after graduation.
8. This article highlights the fact that international students need more attention from school (Oksana 2008). Professor Meghan at the University of Nebraska Lincoln created an experiment for international students, which included English improvement classes, psychological counseling, and career advising, 100 international students filled the survey before and after specialized training and advising. Professor Meghan also used the survey to make a comparison with 100 local students. He found that, before conducting training and advising, 60% of international students feel loneliness, pressure from studying in the US, and 23% of them have depression. For local students, the data reveal 20% and 11%, respectively, identify with the same feelings. Meghan asked the same group of international students to take psychological counseling and English speaking and writing classes twice a week at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. According to her new survey, 86% of students reported feeling less stressed, and that they feel more confident in their studies. Postgraduation employment in the U.S. is the most
important topic for surveyed international students. The school issued 100 students with
different majors to 11 advisors, in order to help them find internships, preparing for job interviews, and training and modifying their resumes and cover letters. 90% of international students expressed gratitude for having received career advising interviews, and the need for more individual meetings with the counseling center. Before some international students participated in the trial, some of them have never seen a career advisor, and had no clue how to write an English resume or cover letter. They were hoping that schools would take the initiative to contact them and help them.
Inspired by Frawley’s article, I believe that American colleges should provide international students acculturation classes, create some classes like “How is life in the U.S. ?” and psychological consulting advising for them. If schools cannot take good care of international students’ mental health and help them with their studies, it will cause a bigger gap between international students and local students. International students experience stress from the lack of interaction with students from other countries in addition to lacking the necessary language skills for living in the United States. These two factors form a vicious cycle, a cycle that leads to pressure in daily life, which in turn causes international students more stress when trying to adjust to life in America.
In Crockett’s article, many American universities claim that they have sufficient employment of resources on campus, but does this truly affect international students? If yes, then why do they still feel heavy work pressure? Most of the international students need one-on-one tutors on upgrading their network connections, and educating job hunting knowledge in the U.S. A school’s career center should always be an international student’s first choice for getting help: resume and cover letter workshops, alumni meetings, career fairs, desirable job searching tips and job interview training. However, the majority of international students said that apart from the work visa problem, they will not go to a career center, and they said the career center does not know much about career option for international students, and they rarely go anywhere else besides classrooms and libraries. International student interviews show that the career center needs more promotion and attraction to international students, and setting up additional services for international students is also a good way to solve the problem.
Based on all the literature I have reviewed, I decided to make a survey for my research in order to collect more data directly from international students. Also, the survey result could provide whether my hypotheses are correct or wrong.
Research Design and Method
The strength about my survey is that all the questions are targeted to English proficiency and college English resources. The limitation about my survey is that I still need more people to participate in this data collecting work, compare to the amount international students number in the U.S.
Participants: 50 current Graduate and Undergraduate international students in the United States.
Data collection: In February, I designed an international students adoption survey, it filled by 50 international students cross the States that currently enrolled in different colleges. The survey questions include:
1. Do you need support from school recourses?
2. Do you feel the International Student Center at your school is helpful?
3. Do you agree that your English ability is sufficient for class?
I used survey planet.com to spread my survey, and I got 21 feedback comments from online international students. I printed out 35 copies of my survey and 29 international students from University of Rochester and University of Florida completed my survey.
Data analysis and discussion: Based on the survey result, international students have a common sense of their limited English proficiency is their main difficulties in college study, and they require more support from the school English resources. In the feedback field most of the students said they want to make more friends with local students and get more attention at school. They hope to gain approval from both American students and professors, and that they will understand the culture of their country. 90% of the international students believe that good school social network platforms/student organizations can help international students in the transitional period of cultural adaptation.
I designed an international student questionnaire that avoided questions on religion, belief, and ethics. The international students adoption survey is divided into two online and printed versions, to allow participants to complete the survey faster, I only listed three questions. I have all the copyright for this survey.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!