International Students Studying In The United Kingdom Education Essay

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The following chapter provides citations from books, journals, articles from the newspaper, the Internet, and other related studies. The gathering of information is done to give direction on the study. Some specific topics are discussed to fortify the contrivance of the study.

Some would say that the only disadvantage foreign students will experience while they are studying and residing in the United Kingdom would be caused by their own mistakes. Boorstin (Cryer, 2000), in a site for quotations, agrees that while travellers are searching for adventure, experience, and new people to meet, tourists are passive in a way that they would expect interesting things to happen to them.

Though there is some trust to Boorstin's statement, this study will provide a more concrete picture regarding the advantages and disadvantages foreign students have experienced, and will experience while studying and living in the UK.

2.1 Foreign student defined

It is important in the study that a foreign student be defined. Cryer (2008) defines foreign students as those who are originally from outside the United Kingdom, and have come to study in the UK. They are also referred to as "overseas students" (Cryer, 2008), though the term "international" is also used. The term "international" also denotes to describe "societies, support groups and social events which can be helpful for students who are away from home in a foreign country." (Cryer, 2008)

It could be said that foreign students make an ample amount of contribution in terms of UK's economy. There are many foreign students in the country, with MGN Ltd. (2007) and Gale Group (2007) claiming that there are at least 16, 025 overseas students in 2007.

Many would question why foreign students would prefer to study abroad away from their families, when they could study in Universities in their own countries. This will be answered on the next part.

2.2 Advantages of studying abroad

With the wild frenzy of foreign students to study abroad, there must be something about the UK Education system that draws students to enroll in their universities. There are many advantages one will be able to gain with an English education. Some of the many advantages for foreign students who will live and study in the United Kingdom are as follows:

· The students will be globally competitive;

· The students will be more experienced;

· The students will gain techniques and learning that are not available in their host country.

2.2.1 Students will be globally competitive

According to Solo Syndication Limited and Gale, Cengage Learning (2009), "UK universities are world leaders." With that statement, it is obvious why foreign students are flocking to UK universities from all around the globe. It also maintains that the education is best in the United Kingdom because the nation invests in the quality of education: though it is costly to pay for better teachers, access to technological advancement, getting new materials such as books and equipment - the nation is able to provide ample support to ensure that education does not go unnoticed (Solo Syndication Limited, et al, 2009).

The piece continues with "Students are understandably concerned about the value of a degree in a tough jobs market. Yet it is still absolutely clear that having a degree both boosts a young person's chances of getting a job and increases their earning power" (Solo Syndication Limited, et al, 2009). This statement perfectly illustrates the power of education, and how critical it is in helping the foreign student establish and create a promising future in the United Kingdom. With the right education, there would be a better chance of getting a job that will pay well, which will enable the foreign student to provide for his or her family.

2.2.2. The students will be more experienced

Foreign students who will study and live in the United Kingdom will gain advantage in terms of confronting and learning the English language, as well as toughen their resolve and ideals in life when it comes to creating choices. As MGN Ltd. and Gale Group (2007) said, "For UK students, this can only enhance their experience. Classroom discussions and debates are made richer with viewpoints from different countries. Social contact with other cultures is now a valuable part of the wider education that university provides."

The passage above means that the interaction between foreign students and other students in the United Kingdom will provide both parties with undistinguished knowledge, as both will learn how to accept and adapt to different cultures and behaviours. For foreign students who are living and studying in the United Kingdom, such exposure to the English world will provide them with an edge when they do look for work because employers would prefer people who have people skills, as well as those who can adapt to changes easily.

2.2.3 The students will gain techniques and learning that are not available in their host country

Indeed, with the many foreign students enrolling in business, engineering, law, and medicine (MGN Ltd., et al, 2007), educational institutions in UK are earning more and more profits, which in turn enables them to provide better education for those who are enrolled in their institutions. It will also pave way for linkages as well. An example would be China which needs urban planners because the country is currently undergoing economic development. This served as a bond between the Cardiff's School of City and Regional Planning and the Chinese planning institutions (MGN Ltd., et al, 2007).

The example given above will prove that there are certain teachings that are unavailable to the host country, and could only be attained by studying abroad. This will serve both the United Kingdom and the host country, because the learning would be beneficial on both ends.

2.3 Disadvantages and common problems a foreign student will encounter while living and studying in the United Kingdom

Now that the major advantages are defined, it is time to set the parameters for the most pressing problems and disadvantages foreign students will encounter while living and residing in the UK. The majority of these are:

· Some foreign students are discriminated;

· Foreign students are expected to pay higher fees than normal students;

· There are cultural barriers to overcome, such as:

o Mixing with UK students

o English language - social and practical use

· A student's way of thinking

o Used to just saying yes to professors

o Expected to be independent

2.3.1 Discrimination

Though UK is an unbiased and great nation, there are still those people who discriminate people based on their race. The racial discrimination has already subsided through the years, but there are those who still cling to the thought that people of other races are inferior to them.

Tarique Ghaffur, a high-ranking British Ethnic-Minority Police officer with Ugandan roots, related to Solo Syndication Limited and Gale Group (2004) the stories of how he was discriminated in the early years of his stay in England. He said, "I had been sent to England to do my A-levels and then go on to medical school. I was the eldest of four, and like many Asian children, my brothers and I were expected to study hard and join a 'suitable profession'" (Solo Syndication Limited, et al, 2004). He was also asked to take a special written test in order to gauge his spoken and written English, though he was fluent in the language and went to an English school (Solo Syndication Limited, et al, 2004).

Ghaffur acknowledges that majority of the discrimination he endured before is not similar to what there is now. There are less forms of discrimination, and foreign students are more acknowledged in schools nowadays than when he was in an English school. Ghaffur, being Asian, was also taunted by the colour of his skin (Solo Syndication Limited, et al, 2004). Though Ghaffur was able to overcome the taunting, and rose against all odds as an esteemed public official.

2.3.2 Foreign students pay higher than normal students

Cryer (2000) mentioned that, "Of all the differences between postgraduate research students from the UK/EU and elsewhere, the one with the highest profile is that of fees. Although fees differ across institutions and across departments, it is always the case that 'overseas' students pay much more."

Paying a higher amount than what normal students will pay is certainly a disadvantage for foreign students. They will come to the United Kingdom with the hopes of securing a brighter future for themselves and their families after graduation, yet they have to pay more for the opportunity of education. This could perhaps be linked to the reasoning that they could always go to the Universities at their own country, and just the fact that they are in the United Kingdom and not in their own host countries would mean they have the funds to spend. Sadly, despite the promising picture of richness this paint, majority of foreign students are under grants, loans, and scholarships, and had to have part-time jobs while studying in order to afford board and lodging.

This was supported by UKCOSA: The Council for International Education (2004) when the organization said that one of the problems encountered by foreign students in the United Kingdom would be their finances. Students are having a hard time in finding part-time jobs in order to compensate for their living allowance, as well as their expenses while staying in the United Kingdom. In fact, the recent UKCOSA survey (2004) showed that even those who have been in the UK for a long time, they are having a harder time to hold down a job than when they first entered the country.

2.3.3 Cultural barriers

Indeed, there are cultural barriers to be overcome by foreign students who are studying and residing in the United Kingdom. According to UKCOSA (2004), a major cause of this cultural barrier would be the English language. Some foreign students, especially for those nationalities who do not use English as their primary language, are having a hard time in expressing themselves in English. The English language is used in both social and practical use, and if a foreign student is unable to express himself in the said language properly, then he would drift further and further apart from his colleagues.

Another source of cultural barrier would be mixing with UK students (UKCOSA, 2004). The UK students have different cultures if one would compare it with the unique culture of foreign students. To some cultures it is a big taboo for women to mingle with men in parties, and some foreign students have a hard time adapting to that big change in the culture. Other would be that some cultures do not eat meat because it is a form of sin for them. Instead of this rich heritage making the foreign student stronger and better, it could sometimes result to the student being taunted by his peers.

2.3.4 A student's attitude

Another major disadvantage and problem for foreign students in the United Kingdom would be their attitude and way of thinking. Similar to their unique cultures, foreign students are simply brought up in a way different from how other UK students are used to. Cryer (2000) mentioned that in some cultures, students are expected to just accept whatever the instructor is saying, and that there is no question about the instructor's instructions. However, in the United Kingdom, it is actually encouraged for students to speak up and defend their opinions. Those students who are used to just saying yes to their professors are held at a major disadvantage, because they cannot participate actively in discussions, therefore compromising their class performance and final grades.

Also, the Western culture expects students to be independent (Cryer, 2000). Unlike in some cultures were students are guided every step of the way, in the United Kingdom the lessons and instructions are given, and the students will have to make the most out of it. Though there will be supervisors which will warn, advise, and encourage (Cryer, 2000) students, majority of the responsibility will still fall on the student's shoulders.

2.4. Survival of foreign students

For Cryer (2000), the survival of foreign students studying and living in the United Kingdom depends upon the student's frame of thinking and trust issues. He encourages students to conduct a thorough research of the university before signing up to join them, as well as to confirm with other people about the university's reputation. The problem with studying overseas is that one will not sufficient access to personally check the university's grounds, rooms, and warmth of faculty, therefore some students are very confused and disoriented when they first see their new school.

Also, Cryer (2000) advises that the students only trust credible people. It is important that "you find an institution which is particularly caring towards its international students and which follows the guidelines of good practice, as documented on the institutional website" (Cryer, 2000). It is also important that a student be exposed to a whole new culture, yet a support team is in place to help the student.

The support system could be composed of a community with a form of allegiance, for example, similar races, or a foreign student's auxiliary group. It could be in the form of an adviser or professor. Whatever the case, there should be a support system that will be able to provide comfort and security in the student's well being.

Cryer (2000) also warns that, "Frequent or lengthy stays away in London or other centres of social activity will not be acceptable to an institution which will require its full-time students to fulfil certain obligations of residence. Students who flout this lay themselves open to having their registration terminated." This passage shows that a student must abide by rules and regulations in order to avoid having his or her student visa revoked, and risk deportation. Though there are some international students who succumbed to peer pressure, there are those who rose with grace, and were able to be successful in a whole new world that is far from their comfort zones.

Lastly, good English is essential in order to survive in the United Kingdom. Since this is UK's primary language, it is a must for foreign students to embrace the language in order to maximize their stay in a different country. With a good grasp of the language, they will be able to understand what is being said around them, and they will be able to adapt to the situations presented. Good communication skills should never be forgone, as since the student is in a foreign country, good communication skills will be an asset, and not having it will be a liability. Cryer (2000) encourages student to polish their language skills first before deciding to go to and study in the United Kingdom.

2.5 Conclusion

Based on the given materials and research conducted by the researcher, it is established that a foreign student is someone who came from a country outside of the United Kingdom, and who studied and lived in the UK. There were also several advantages of being a foreign student in the UK, such as being globally competitive, gaining more experience, and gaining techniques and learning that are not available in a foreign student's host country.

Yet despite the promising prospects, there are also disadvantages of being a foreign student in an English country. There are racial discrimination, financial problems, cultural barriers, and analytical problems in terms of the student's thinking that have to be resolved before one can be successful in the United Kingdom. However, based on the research and the example of a successful foreigner, it is possible to succeed in the United Kingdom despite living in a different culture with different groups of people.

Survival in the UK meanwhile would depend upon a student's frame of mind, as well as the student's ability to mix with the UK students. This could also mean that those students who keep an open mind will be more likely to succeed, compared to those who are stubborn and who do not want to adapt to the situation.

Clearly it is a situation of doing the most out of what one has. In this paper, it will be established that the success of a student will depend upon the opportunities he or she will create for themselves, as well as taking advantage of the chances they will be given. Once a student decides to enroll in the UK, they will be exposed to a variety of culture, learning, and diverse experiences, therefore giving them the edge and confidence needed for surviving in the real world.


This chapter will determine the line of investigation to be conducted by the researcher, as well as the precise procedures it will involve. These steps will be closely followed by an unbiased analysis of accumulated documents, materials used, and subjects that were interviewed by the researcher. It will also discuss the research design and other pertinent information regarding the research methods used for this paper.

3.1 Research Methodologies

There is a specified research design for this empirical research. Since this paper will touch sensitive issues as well as capture human interest, it will be thoroughly scrutinized to avoid giving misinterpretation of the findings and results. The following are the research design for the paper:

a. Explanatory research

b. Cause-and-effect research

3.1.1 Explanatory research

Since the paper is set to capture human interest, especially those of foreign students, it will utilize an explanatory study which will shed light regarding the advantages and disadvantages a foreign student experienced or will experience while studying and living in the United Kingdom.

3.1.2 Cause-and-effect research

Otherwise known as an explanatory research, it will aim to understand the advantages and disadvantages of foreign students while they are studying and living in the United Kingdom. This type of research will help the researcher establish the relationship between the cause of the advantage or disadvantage; namely: environment, attitude, and behaviour toward changes that occurred once the foreign students settled in the United Kingdom. This is directly in relation to what Cooper and Schindler (2008) described in their book, which is finding the source of the problem, and creating links that will explain the relationship of one factor to the other. This will also explain the relationship between a foreign student's upbringing, the environment he or she will be exposed to upon living in the United Kingdom, and the foreign student's attitude toward the changes in his or her life. This will also help to explain why being a foreign student is not a hindrance in earning a degree and succeeding in the United Kingdom.

3.2 Research approach

Since the research approach varies from one project or another, it is important that the approach and interpretations be established by the researcher before proceeding to give data for the paper. The interpretative approach would be utilized for this study.

3.2.1 Interpretative approach

The researcher will utilize the interpretative approach, which according to Moss and Tubbs (2006), "emphasizes the need to take into account the subjective experience of the individual. Its research emphasis is qualitative rather than quantitative. It makes full sense of field studies and techniques requiring personal observation. Researchers may get to know the people they study quite well, might collect personal narratives and stories that describe the lived experience of a given culture or co-culture." The goal of this study is to understand rather than to predict behaviour, to understand why things happen from within the culture of the subject.

By following the interpretative approach, it will help with the interviews and analysis of the meetings with interviewees and different heads of concerned institutions. There would be a personal relationship between each interviewee and the interviewer, as it is important to gain the former's trust so that they will disclose information that will be helpful to the research. Aside from that, the interviewer's personal assessment and observations will be used.

3.3 Research Strategy

There are different strategies available depending on whether one wishes to utilize the qualitative or quantitative form of study. This paper is a qualitative study, which will therefore focus on generally non-numeric data. Observation, discourse and textual analysis, interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork (Cooper et al, 2008) are usually the most common forms of data gathering which are used in a qualitative study.

3.3.1 Interviews, focus group discussions, and discourses

The researcher will set appointments with a diverse group of foreign students, and conduct one-on-one interviews, focus group discussions, and discourses with them in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of what the foreign students are experiencing. Talks with concerned institution heads will also be conducted. This will help the researcher to gain an objective point of view on the project, as well as have a better grasp of the student's situation.

3.3.2 Observation

After the interviews, discussions, and discourses, the researcher will also transcribe the discussions and do in-depth analysis of the materials, and jot down one's observations. Then the researcher will create an unbiased report regarding the result of the materials.

3.3.3 Variables and Measure

The independent variable in this study will be the foreign students who are living and studying in the United Kingdom. The dependent variable will be the advantages and disadvantages of the student's situations, and the intervening variable is the frame of mind the students will employ.

The research will only focus on foreign students stationed in the United Kingdom and not in any other country. It will only take into consideration the foreign students who are living and studying in the United Kingdom.

3.3.4 Population/Sampling/Participants of the Study

Organizations will be the unit of analysis for this paper, wherein the researcher will talk to institution heads with different backgrounds in order to maximize the data-gathering for the study. These institution heads will be from non-government organizations (NGOs), Universities, Colleges, and the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA or UKCOSA). The individual interviews with international students will be those who came from different races and nationalities.

3.3.5 Research Instruments

The questions to be asked to the interviewees and participants of the discussions would be checked by the researcher's project supervisor, who is an important party when it comes to foreign student's relationship in the University. The questions will be forwarded to the participants a day before the interview in order to avoid uncomfortable queries that might compromise the researcher. In case the interviewee be someone the researcher knows personally, then discretion would be strictly employed in order to protect the interviewee's reputation.

3.4 Data Collection Methods

There would be two sources for data collection methods. The primary and secondary data collection methods are as follows:

3.4.1 Primary data

The primary data will be gathered through interviews of various institution heads, foreign students, focus group discussions and discourses. There will be at least four institution heads to be interviewed: one from a university, one from a college, one from an independent non-government organization which aims to help foreign students in the United Kingdom settle better, and one from the UKCOSA.

For the discussions with foreign students, at least four foreign students of different races would be interviewed. The number of participants in both groups (institution heads and foreign students) might change, depending on the depth of information the contributors would wish to disclose.

3.4.2 Secondary data

Likewise, the researcher would delve into a deep investigation of facts about the topic in the form of books, journals, and other published materials in order to expand the boundaries restricting the study.

3.5 Discussion and Conclusion

The paper utilized the explanatory and cause-and-effect research methods in order to set the parameters for the research and to find the root of the disadvantages foreign students experience once they are living and studying in the United Kingdom. An interpretive approach was used as well, as this was the best way to interpret gathered data through the primary and secondary data collection methods. Interviews, focus group discussions, and discourses were held with well-represented institution heads, foreign students, and non-government organizations. The researcher used the power of observation, and took great care in noting down every single thing that transpired within the interview or session, to be able to give a thorough and well-compounded research.