Studies have shown that there is no superior culture over another, every culture is unique in its own way, and different people have different culture. Culture, can be described as the mode of dressing, eating, communication styles, languages spoken, teaching and learning styles, reaction to time(time management) by a certain group of people. Culture varies from place to place in the sense that different societies and communities adopt different cultures.
This report examines and analysis the different reasons why international students come to study in the UK and the challenges they face here. Some of these reasons identified are: to learn a new language, travelling opportunities, to enable one understand another culture first hand, to develop skills, opportunity to make new friends around the world, enables one to know more about his or her own culture, helps to widen ones global view, to enhance employment opportunity, enables one to break out of one's academic routine of home country and finally helps to add value or improves ones degree. Haven known these reasons, for coming to study in the UK, this report further gives some challenges and key issues experienced by international students. Some of these issues identified are: culture shock, teaching and learning styles (similarities and differences between the UK and home country), time management issues, fees and funding, and finally regular problems faced by international students. Some of the key issues which shall be discussed in this report are culture shock, problems faced by international students, time management, fees and funding and teacher/student role expectations in the UK.
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The united kingdom is a very nice and wonderful place to study and students from different countries prefer to study in UK this is due the quality of the education and the students also has an opportunity to gain a prestigious qualification. This report therefore provides an insight in to the perceptions of the international students and their experiences here in UK. The experiences of the students studying here in UK will be discussed under the following headings they are culture shock, time management, fees and funding, teacher/student role expectation and the problems faced by international students in UK. All these will be discussed below.
The term 'culture' was defined by Bock(1970) as primarily an emotional reaction that follows from not been to understand control and predict another`s behaviour. It can also be described as a way of life in a particular region in terms of customs, traditions etc. Each and every nation is deeply rooted within its own culture. The culture makes each country very special and different from one another, so does the person belong to a particular culture. Therefore the role of the culture in the process of national progress is unquestionable. The way we are brought up and our personality is built up has a lot to do with the culture. Therefore culture means a lot to the nation as well as to the people.
It is a fact that we always prefer to hold on to our culture as we attach an emotional component to our culture. Therefore one can be easily offended in cultural issues. It is very difficult for a person to understand and get adapted to another culture in case the situation demands. Therefore when we visit a foreign nation, one of the difficulties we encounter is the cultural issue. Due to our way of living, customs and manners change completely and it becomes a novel experience to us. Sometimes we get confused regarding what to adopt and what not.
Some times when in the foreign country, we are forced to adopt certain manners which are exact opposite to our idea of culture, as a way of showing civility. So it can cause a lot of discomfort to us, especially with a person who is very new to the country. Therefore it paves the way for a cultural shock for the individuals new to the country.
For the individuals very new to the country, the one way cultural shock arises is through the communication issues. Communication is everything to an individual. So when there is not a space for an easy communication, it really frustrates the individual. But here in this country, language barrier is not at all a matter as English stands as the global language. But for an individual from a non-European country, it is not very easy to catch the foreign accent which with they speak English. Once he or she gets accustomed to the foreign accent, which is no longer a matter to him or her.
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Cultural shock is not something which we need to be scared of; it can be overcome through proper planning and understanding. Adopt the things which fits us, feels us comfortable, and which seems to be good. Through this we can minimize the shock since a change has never been difficult for human beings.
Few things which you find difficult to get adjusted in the initial stages are:
(Climate change and food is not related to the culture, but it's a huge task for foreigners to get adjusted with the climate and typical food over there)
3. Social behaviour
It creates a little discomfort to us. But time makes it manageable
To sum up, cultural shock occurs as the result of one's total immersion in a new culture. It happens to people who have been transplanted to abroad. As it is mentioned earlier, the problem with the culture shock is mainly for the new comers. Newcomers may be little anxious and worried because they even do not speak the language as exact as it is, know the customs, or understand people's behaviour. But the problem no longer exists as he or she starts understanding and learning their customs and manners and begins to get adjusted to the culture in a way that is not challenging one's own culture. Therefore the process needs time as it is a process to obtain a true realization of the atmosphere we are.
PROBLEMS FACED BY INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
As human beings every individual has to face different kinds of problems in their life. Problems can happen at any time to anybody in any situation but we should try to handle all the problems. In this context, that is studying in UK the international students should face different kinds of problems some of them are
Language barriers - communication skills
Acceptance of culture
Problems relating jobs
Difference in education system
I. Language is one of the important medium of communication. Without communicating each other we cannot understand others views, ideas and feelings and we cannot transfer our perceptions to others as well. People from different countries they use different languages not only the language but also the accent, pronunciation, style of talking, way of expressing their feelings everything varied from each other. So when these people come to UK to continue their higher education it's quite difficult to adjust with each other. For example people from Nigeria have a different style of talking especially their accent is very different so the people from other countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. have a slight problem to follow their accent.
II. Secondly, the biggest trouble faced by the students is plagiarism. In some countries for example in India, there is no problem like plagiarism while submitting the assignments. So once we started to study here it is a big tension for the students at the time of assignment submission and they are working hard to lessen the percentage of plagiarism. Not only the plagiarism but also the way of submitting the assignments is also different in many countries. Here first we should submit the assignments through breo and again we should submit it in a different way. All these are fairly new to the international students.
III. Culture is something an individual should follow through out his life. So when we go to some other place where the culture is different it is very difficult to accept that. Culture reflects an individual's character, behaviour and over all it gives an outline of that person. If we believe in one culture it's not very easy to change that. Other important fact is that here the living style and dressing style is different when we compare this with Indian culture. So people from India have a great difficulty to adjust with this culture.
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IV. One of the biggest challenges faced by the international students is the living expenses. Here standard of living is high so meeting the expenses is a big problem for the students especially if they have no job. Then getting a part time job is not very easy here because most of the companies prefer full time workers and the increasing number of students is also a big problem. The vacancies are less for the part timers but the intake of students in the universities is increasing per year.
V. Immigration is not a very big deal for the international students but sometimes it may cause some problems, especially at the time of immigration the officers ask questions if they feel any kind of doubts or if they are not satisfied with our answers may be they will reject our visa.
Problems can happen to anybody especially when we are living in another country. But never kneel down before the problems instead we should try to overcome the problems and succeed in our life.
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IMPORTANCE OF TIME Time plays great role in everyone's life. Everyone has equal time. If nobody uses his time correctly, he will never have it back again. There is no one who can think that he will be success in his life without giving any importance to time. There are so many people who are famous in their different fields, why? Because, they know the importance of time. They spend their time to get that achievement. Time is very essential like our breath to live. We can never think about success without thinking about time. So it is very important to everyone give importance to time.
TIME MANAGEMENT There are so many examples of time management. We can take an example of farmer if he will not reap his crop on time then what will happen? Obviously, he will have to face many problems which can be terrible. So time management is very important if we want to become success person in our life. For student, it's really necessary for the reason that they must have to be punctual in their every task, not only in exam but also in every second of their study. Regarding my experience of student life In UK, we have to be practical in our study and give much time in study rather than other work. We should manage our time. If students do their work in time and serial ways then they realise that they have lot of time to do their work. Everyone knows the starting time of our life but nobody can think about the last time of our life. Hence we don't know how much time is left in our hand.
WAY OF MANAGING TIME
Using time table is one of the best way of utilize our sufficient time. In student life, to get achievement in study every students must have to follow their adequate time table. Everyone is different in their nature so using time table is also different from each other. But important thing is that we all must have to use our own timetable. It ensures that students are well prepared and give importance to their routine work and complete their every work in time. Make a good study habit; we should do our work regularly. The time which we spend in waiting, walking and so on, we can use this time to remind our work that we have learned. Make weekly schedule it can help the students to utilize their time. Make daily list to do routine work and study period.
BENEFITS OF TIME MANAGEMENT
Time management helps to control our life. The activity of pre planning helps us lot. It improves our confidence and efficiency. Without time management students can never think about to meet the goals. Only if manage time can enable them to meet the goals. Time is like an ice-cream, use it before it melts. Therefore give importance to time because it never comes back.
From : Sandip Dandi
FEES AND FUNDING
Although the funding for the higher education has been quite a costly affair, it is being ignored by the individuals who are focussed towards their career especially when it comes to funding of the tuition fee for the studies abroad it is a critical aspect as many criterion have to be met to ensure a bright and purposeful career overseas. Considering the globalization factor overseas education is being opted by millions around the world. As a result even the governments of the developed nations have been signing pacts to exchange the student population for a better learned society.
Though funding the tuition fee is one aspect, it has its after effects basing on the approach and the interest of an student shows to start a career on a international note. For example : Considering the tuition fee in the country like united kingdom , one can find the difference as the local students and people from European union are charged roughly around 3000 pounds, Where as the fee for the same course for the international students is 9800 pounds. There are different aspects to be taken care of like the bank loan, maintenance of funds for the student, etc. Hence the legislations of the developed nations should implement a new laws so that the funding issue for the merit students becomes easier .It is appreciable that the universities have started a helping hand in this regard. For example; the university offers scholarship and fee discount if it is paid at once and its nearby 500-1500 pounds.
The British government in 2003 has introduced the system of variable tuition fee to help and support the education in the united kingdom and it has been successful in winning the votes of confidence .The government of united kingdom has also taken the initiative of solving the financial issues regarding the funding of education by granting the part time work for the students up to 20 hours per week and it had another practice called post study work permit , which will be granted for the span of two years . This has helped the students to a large extent in clearing their educational, maintenance loans etc. This has also given rise to the chances of increasing settling options in their respective career thus by improving the financial status of the students. Finally the funding factor of foreign education should be delta with great source of understanding and with appropriate information to ensure a peace.
TEACHER /STUDENT ROLE EXPECTATION IN UK
There are differences in learning styles when collated to one`s country of origin and this presents a difficulty for international students, Therefore in order to explain the differences in learning styles we will look at Hofstede` s (1986) view on cultural differences in teaching and learning which will be classified according to the culture of the society. Thus United Kingdom can be classified under these four dimensions of cultures and this also has an impact on the teaching and learning styles in England which will be discussed below.
To further explain the teaching and learning styles in UK ,points will be taken from, Hofstede (1986) cultural differences in teaching and learning, which suggested that societies can be classified under the following cultural dimensions namely power distance societies, individualist societies, weak uncertainty avoidance societies and masculine societies .Firstly UK can be described as a small power distance society in the sense that in terms of their learning styles it is discovered that in school here teachers are expected to respect the independence of their students but in other countries like Nigeria which can be classified as large power distance society students are expected to respect their teachers, also in UK students are allowed to ask questions freely in class while in Nigeria the reverse is the case the student is allowed to talk only when invited by the teacher, during lectures in class a two-way communication is used to enhance learning therefore students are required to begin the communication and also students can oppose the teacher in class this issue of communication in class still affects some international students because they still have the fear in them that nobody has the right to speak whilst the lecture is going on or even to go contradicting the teacher. Also some issues that needs to be mentioned here is that in schools here in UK when conflict arises between the teacher and student, the parents or guardian of the student is expected to be in the supporting side of the student. Students here in UK prefer the young teachers than the old ones, in this case we the international students prefers the older teachers whom we believe has the skills of teaching and can as well impact knowledge in us. (this is from Nigerian perception),also in UK emphasis is laid on impersonal truth rather than wisdom which can in any principle be acquired from any capable person.
Secondly United Kingdom can be described as a fairly masculine society in terms of their learning styles, this is because in schools male students tend to avoid traditionally feminine academic courses, students also choose academic courses to study in pursue of career opportunities. Here in UK students failure is a serious issue and it's a severe blow to one`s self image . Teachers place a high esteem on best students in order to motivate the average students to work harder, it is however discovered that the Education system here in UK rewards academic performance for instance they offer scholarship to students all over the world.
Thirdly in looking at the learning styles in UK from an individualist point of view it is discovered that they believe in permanent education that one is never too old to learn, here students are given the chance to do certain things themselves that is they are expected to learn how to learn, for example the university of Bedfordshire students are given access to learning facilities e.g. libraries filled with textbooks, journals, newspapers, access to computers in the library with Wi-Fi , free internet for students who live in the school hostel also library services can be accessed from home through digital library you can read e-journals, search data bases, check the catalogue and so on, All these resources provided by the school was to ensure the students learns how to learn and not solely depending on the lecturers for information. It is also found here in UK that lecturers tends to be unprejudiced they never give room for any preferential treatment they treat everybody as equal unlike Nigeria where lecturers give preferential treatment to those related or close to him or rather those from the same ethnic background with him. In UK Education is viewed as way of enhancing one`s economic importance and self esteem based on skills and suitability, high value is placed on one`s suitability on skills and knowledge acquired rather than acquiring certificates.
Finally United Kingdom is classified under weak uncertainty avoidance societies in terms their learning styles, however in this type of society students are convenient in an unstructured learning condition in school such as vague objectives, broad assignments, no timetables and so on, the international students finds it very hard to cope with this situation. Their view of a good teacher is one who uses a plain language to teach, hence teachers are allowed to say I don't know in class. Also it is being discovered that the students and teachers here are expected to restrain their emotions rather than expressing it. Students are rewarded for creativity.
The learning styles in United Kingdom are completely different from other countries, for example in university of Bedfordshire the school environment is well structured and it is a conducive place to study. Generally United Kingdom is really a wonderful place to be in terms of academics.
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In conclusion, this report shows that international students must undergo certain experiences such as culture shock as a result of change in the environment but further indicates that potential international students shouldn't be worried about that because it is a normal phenomenon that must occur. The report clearly also stated the importance of managing time through the use of time tables and related tools for managing time. Another issues analysed is the learning styles in Uk. It observed that this style were they make their lectures interactive ,enable their students learn independently and this is also achieved through the use of learning material in the libraries,internet,and other information sources. The report also indicated other problem like, immigration problems of unemployment, acceptance of culture, plagiarism, language barriers, and differences in education system. The report finally concludes by appreciating the environment of the UK as conducive for learning for international students.
This report shown the difficulties faced by international students in trying to adapt to a new academic environment and also providing a student view on possible approaches for improvement of their experiences. However some recommendations are made to enable the institutions in UK to make some changes in which will help enhance the students experience in studying in UK they are: firstly the institution needs to look into the teaching and learning styles to know whether they fit into the specific study needs of these students, also tutors should judge the suitability of strategies when accessing cohorts of these students for example the use of group work. Secondly the institution should make a provision for the students to instigate the social adjustment they student need to make. Thirdly the use of ice breakers is very important in the first one or two classes this helps students to get to know each other very well and also feel less self-conscious .finally tutors should also bear in mind that non-verbal communication is also a useful way of communicating in class and that there is a need for sensitivity towards cultural diversity in the classroom.