Being an International Student in the United States

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International students are faced with a host of difficulties when studying abroad. The growth in the number of students studying abroad has forced universities to take action to address their problems. Institutions of the same regard have expanded their capacity to accept more international students. The large increase in these figures made it possible to research the variables influencing students. Issues such as socioeconomic differences and cultural transitions are important to student needs.
Any of the views of the problems facing foreign students are listed below. The well being of these students is critical as it influences their lives and helps in dealing with their stress factors. Stress factors among the international students affect their outcomes while studying abroad. The international students often have some deficiencies in terms of the cultural, social and educational adjustments. More attention have however been paid onto the interpersonal support that comes friends, instructors or family. The psychological support can be sourced from the organization with which an individual is affiliated to. If there is no sufficient organizational support, members cannot fully achieve positive emotional and cognitive outcomes. This can influence their satisfaction in their jobs. The host universities have helped the foreign students in various capacities: first by providing residence to them, second according them with student Visas (F-1 Visa) and proving them with the orientation programs (Bresnahan & Cai, 2000). The host universities also often subsidize their fees by providing them with scholarships, offering them employment while on-campus, providing loans, and teaching assistantship (Sheehy, 2013). The university provides also an avenue where international students can interact and as such establish new relationship with diverse people. Students clubs also are important as they allow international students to meet with their fellow students from their nationalities. On going communication and contact with their families is also crucial in helping them cope with the stress factors.

Provision of social support is important for the student’s life satisfaction and dealing with the psychological stress (Misra, Crist, & Burant, 2003). Several evidence exists which prove that social support influence the students’ psychological well-being (Ye, 2006). Based on social aspects, the university or college support is crucial for the successful lives of the international students. The connection between the international and domestic students is crucial in establishing social interactions and relationships. The social support given to the students by the university is critical in determining the wellbeing of the international students (Lee, Koeske, & Sales, 2004). Organizational support is important as it influence emotional and cognitive aspects of the members in terms of their outcomes (Gillet et al., 2012, Rutherford et al., 2012).

The university plays a critical role in social support however the self-categorization or social identity presented in the stress model is factor when students are coping up with their new environment (Haslam et al., 2005). From the figure the social support helps in ensuring that a relationship exists between psychological outcomes and the social identity, also life satisfaction and stress. The students from foreign nation have limited sense of oneness or belonging while undertaking their studies. This makes them to be more engaged with their schools. Positive relation according to Haslam et al may exist between the identity in the university and the support. The stress model can be summarized in the figure below:

H 1

Psychological Stress

H 4

H 5

H 3

H 2

University Identification

University Support

School Life Satisfaction

The first hypothesis, H 1 shows that the university identification will influence students’ support perception positively. H 2 outlines how the support given by universities negatively predicts stress among international students. H3 shows that support predicts student’s satisfaction in their lives at school. H 4 also shows that the satisfaction in school is also influenced by the identification. H5 shows how identification negatively influences stress.

The international students live away from their friends and families while studying, thus the host colleges or universities should design and provide support programs to the international students. This can be in form of multi-cultural service counseling and peer-pairing programs. Social support is necessary to address such student’s challenges and improve on their wellbeing. The cultural distance for instance can be dealt with promoting cultural integration of the diverse students through festivities. Cultural customs, experiences and traditions can be shared through art, food, educational displays, music and dance. This is instrumental in the improvement of the emotional and psychological outcomes of the international students. It is essentially crucial that the students are psychologically and emotionally supported to deal with their stress issues. Social identity concept is common to the students and should be looked at while addressing their needs. To provide the necessary support and help to the international student, a theoretical model was put in place to help in their identification, provision of support, satisfaction of their school life and management of their psychological stress.

In conclusion, international Students often have to cope up with their new environment while studying in foreign countries. These students suffer from stress factor caused by the challenges which they encounter while studying. The stress can be caused by either emotional aspects or psychological influence. Social support is crucial in enabling such student positively adapt to their learning environment and be able to perform well. Institutions should be in the forefront in assisting the students and ensuring that their comfort becomes apriority. Self identification among students is necessary for their own management and being understood by their immediate institution for support.

Work Cited

Bresnahan, M. J., & Cai, D. H. (2000). From the other side of the desk: Conversations with international students about teaching in the U.S. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 2, 65-75.

Cho J., and Yu H., Roles of University Support for International Students in the United States: Analysis of a Systematic Model of University Identification, University Support, and Psychological Well-Being. Journal of Studies in International Education 2015, Vol. 19(1) 11–27

Gillet, N., Fouquereau, E., Forest, J., Brunault, P., & Colombat, P. (2012). The impact of organizational factors on psychological needs and their relations with well-being. Journal of Business Psychology, 27, 437-450.

Haslam, S. A., O’Brien, A., Jetten, J., Vormedal, K., & Penna, S. (2005). Taking the strain: Social identity, social support, and the experience of stress. British Journal of Social Psychology, 44, 355-370.

Institute of International Education. (2012). Report on international educational exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors

Lee, J., Koeske, G. F., & Sales, E. (2004). Social support buffering of acculturative stress: A study of mental health symptoms among Korean international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 28, 399-414.

Misra, R., Crist, M., & Burant, C. J. (2003). Relationships among life stress, social support, academic stressors, and reactions to stressors of international students in the United States. International Journal of Stress Management, 10, 137-157.

Ohana, M. (2012). Perceived organizational support as mediator of distributive justice and job satisfaction: The moderating role of group commitment. Journal of Applied Business Research, 28, 1063-1072.

Rutherford, B. N., Wei, Y., Park, J., & Hur, W. (2012). Increasing job performance and reducing turnover: An examination of female Chinese salespeople. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 20, 423-436.

Sheehy, K. (2013, September 19). Colleges that give international students the most financial aid. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2013/09/19/colleges-that-give-internationalstudents-the-most-financial-aid

Ye, J. (2006). An examination of acculturative stress, interpersonal social support, and use of online ethnic social groups among Chinese international students. Howard Journal of Communications, 17, 1-20.

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