Foreign parents who enrol their kids in American colleges and universities commonly cite the benefits and prestige of graduating in a U.S. top university as their reason for doing so, but it isn’t only international students who get the perks of stepping on American soil. The locals also benefit from their presence, learning to be more culturally-aware and sensitive.
If you have an elementary school kid you wish to enrol in the U.S., the impacts can be felt earlier, and thus more advantageous. Exposing your child in a foreign environment at a young age will help them adjust to the changes faster, so by the time they reach college, their social and academic skills are already at par with or greater than their local peers. If you prefer a quality Christian education for your kid, consider an elementary application in Gilbert, AZ, or other areas.
That said, here’s how being an international student in the U.S. affects one’s skill development:
Making friends wouldn’t be easy, considering the language barrier and the fact that they’re on unfamiliar ground, but according to a survey, 77% of international students found local students friendly and welcoming. Most American colleges and universities provide avenues for local and international students to interact, such as multicultural centers, clubs, and events.
Learning alongside foreigners, from both the locals’ and international students’ perspectives, help overcome stereotyping and other misinformation about a certain race or country. By getting to know one another, they gain a deeper understanding of the various issues each of their countries are experiencing. Moreover, they get to learn different interpersonal and communication styles, driving them both to be more active listeners and critical thinkers, especially if they’re still overcoming the language barrier.
As a result, an international student’s interpersonal skills are developed in a unique way. The friendships they form aren’t solely based on common interests, but also on a desire to learn more about each other’s culture, language, and upbringing.
Wider Global and Cultural Awareness
Being an international student doesn’t limit their cultural awareness to that of the U.S. alone. Universities offer a wide range of courses on international studies. If they wish to, they may learn more languages like French, or delve deep into the world of British literature.
Take it from Felipe Storch de Oliveira, an international student at Franklin & Marshall College (F&M), hailing from Brazil. He took a course through which he mentored Ecuadorian communities about sustainability. As a result, he learned how global collaborations can produce innovative solutions for environmental issues.
Tekla Iashagashvili, another international student hailing from the Republic of Georgia, did research on European cultural institutions. This kind of well-rounded education can help students like her prepare for careers in multinational organizations.
International students may thrive, but not without challenges in their way. 30% of them stated that their cultural differences with the locals are more challenging than they had anticipated. 41% disclosed that they found it difficult to form close friendships with local students, and 29% reported that they didn’t have a strong social network in their campus.
With regards to their academics, however, the results are more favorable. 89% said that they’re happy with the quality of their education, and 83% said that they adjusted easily to the U.S.’s academic expectations.
As for daily life and student support matters, 77% reported being satisfied with their institution’s advice and offerings regarding immigration issues.
The positive survey results show that the challenges international students face don’t hinder their learning and development. Hardships are just a normal part of life at any age, so don’t be discouraged. Don’t be afraid to put your child out there and let them discover their greatest potential.