Studying abroad is often associated with the aspect of achieving the American dream. The findings of the open door report in 2004 showed that the number of students who studied outside their country was 13, 383,553 in the 2003 to 2004 academic year (Kaye 2). With regards to the U.S., 4.3% of the number joined schools in the US (572, 509 students). Most of the international students in the U.S. came from China, India, Canada, Korea, and Japan. In relation to the entire population, most of the international students were from Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa and also the Middle East (Kaye 2). Kaye states that when it comes to education, the U.S. has been the most attractive destination for students wishing to study abroad and, from the 60s, it has been leading in the international student market (2). According to research, the number of international students in the US in 2014 to 2015 academic year totaled up to 974,926 students (Gautam et.al 502). With this into perspective, it becomes inevitable to look at the advantages or rather the factors that make the U.S. attract most students when compared to other countries. Therefore, what makes the U.S. an attractive destination such that students are motivated to travel from different countries of the world just to study in the U.S.? What are the associated benefits for international students when studying in the U.S.? By analyzing the benefits associated with studying in the United States for the international students, it becomes easier to comprehend why the U.S. takes the lead in the international student market.
It is quite evident that the U.S. contains most of the best universities at a global perspective. The universities contain a rich history such that they have been associated with great scientists such as Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein and brought up influential people found today in the society; people such as the U.S. President Barrack Obama, who is an alumnae of Harvard University. Five of the universities in the U.S. are among the top ten listed best universities at a global perspective. They include; Stanford, MIT, Caltech, the University of Chicago and Harvard. Furthermore, most of these universities provide scholarships for bright students and hence giving them an opportunity for growth (Gautam et.al 502). Therefore, studying in the U.S. provides international students to learn in the best universities.
The English language tends to be quite popular in many institutions with regards to the communication process. Furthermore, it is the primary language in the United States such that it becomes inevitable for an international student to be familiar with it in his or her environs while studying in the U.S. It becomes an advantage for international students since the language used mostly in the job market is English in addition to be the unifying language in an intercultural community (Trice 381). Therefore, by being immersed in an environment where the English language is used all through, international students are able to easily develop the skills in the language with regards to speaking and writing such that by the time they are through with their courses, they are fluent (Trice 381). It is important to note that, even if an individual is familiar with the language, being in an environment where the language is used 24/7 gives one a better comprehension of it with regards to vocabulary; especially when in frequent communication with the inherent speakers.
The environment in the U.S. can be described as intercultural for it contains individuals from various backgrounds. Therefore, one of its benefits to the international students is that it provides them with the opportunity to interact with people from various backgrounds (Andrade 132). Through the interactions, they are able to network even after completion of their courses in addition to learning from each other on issues such as values and ethics. Students meet people from various parts of the world on a frequent basis and hence obtain the prospect of making lifelong friendships and networks (Andrade 132). Therefore, studying in the U.S. is beneficial when it comes to social interactions with regards to diversity.
Another benefit of studying in the U.S. for the international students is that it accords them an international experience that they can include in their resumes. Cisneros-Donahue et.al explains that universities in the U.S. are known for quality education in addition to possessing good reputation (170). Most of the students report having grown with regards to skills and intellectual ability. It is worth noting that companies always give an upper hand to individuals who have degrees from the U.S. due to the certainty that the individuals are well-quipped with respective skills. Therefore, the path to success becomes straightened out for individuals that have studied in the U.S. Most of the universities in the U.S. have the Optional Practical Training program which is the effect when it comes to obtaining skills the fields of specialization (Cisneros-Donahue et.al 170). Therefore, studying in the U.S. provides an opportunity to international students to flourish in their career prospects. Other benefits include; the provision of a wide variety of programs, interaction with students from various cultures, and also obtaining new perspectives of the world with regards to the travel,
Nonetheless, it is worth noting that it is not always a smooth ride for the international students. They experience some challenges in their stay abroad. They often find it difficult in adjusting to a new culture (the U.S. culture), learning new languages, adapting to a new learning environment, and also the psychological issues that often arise when one is in a new environment. The difficulties are mostly associated with the lack of experience of the students in dealing with intercultural differences (Kaye 3). Kaye explains that the U.S. academic institutions have not yet developed systems that cater for cross-cultural modifications in addition to training for the purpose of supporting international students at the emotional, intellectual, in addition to behavioral perspectives (3). As it may be, due to the cultural diversity in the academic institutions, catering for these perspectives at the same time can be quite overwhelming and hence a gradual change has to take place for the needs to be adequately met. Nonetheless, the benefits associated with studying in the U.S. tend to be immense and hence a huge advantage for the international students.
As stated earlier, by analyzing the benefits associated with studying in the United States for the international students, it becomes easier to comprehend why the U.S. takes the lead in the international student market. The benefits as mentioned above include; the presence of most of the best universities at a global perspective, a boost in the CV with regards to international experience, and also an improvement in skills regarding the English language. The challenge arises with the lack of experiencing in adjusting in an intercultural environment.
Andrade, Maureen Snow. “International students in English-speaking universities adjustment factors.” Journal of Research in International education 5.2 (2006): 131-154. Print.
Cisneros-Donahue, Teresa et al. “Assessing the Academic Benefit Of Study Abroad”. Journal of Education and Learning 1.2 (2012): 169-179. Print.
Gautam, Chetanath et al. “Challenges for Global Learners: A Qualitative Study of the Concerns And Difficulties Of International Students”. Journal of International Students 6.2 (2016): 502-509. Print.
Kaye, Denise L. International Students As (Un) Bounded Sojourners: Emergent Articulations Of Culture And Identity Through Intercultural Communication. California: ProQuest Information and Learning Company, 2006. Print.
Trice, Andrea G. “Faculty perceptions of graduate international students: The benefits and challenges.” Journal of Studies in International Education 7.4 (2003): 379-403. Print.