Education is a serious business that usually requires people’s time, efforts, and money. If people make an attempt to invest into the process of education, they underline the necessity to take care of their safe future and success. It is not enough to think about the process of education for some period of time. It is more important to find efforts and develop skills constantly to achieve better results and recognition in the chosen field.
Among other education systems, the United States are defined as the country with the largest and most flexible system in the whole world. The main point is that different stakeholders want to know how this type of education and the presence of international students in the U.S. may influence the economical side of the country: costs spent on international students’ living being or the benefits of the studying process.
This is why the main purpose of this paper is to investigate the variety of benefits and costs which are connected to the idea of international students from Asia and their education in American colleges and universities. Although international Asian students have a lot of difficulties and costs, the benefits of studying in the United States outweigh the costs.
International students face many disadvantages during the process of education in American colleges and universities
Institute of International Education (IIE) published numerous Open Doors reports that helps to evaluate the situation in American colleges and universities. The representatives of the Institute of International Education admit that the number of international students in America is about 671,616 in the 2009-2010 academic year that is now more than 10% of total students in American colleges and universities (1).
Open Door data also show that of all international students, 54% students came from Asia countries such as China (14%), South Korea (11%), Japan (4%), Taiwan (4%), Vietnam (3%), and so on.
International students have financial difficulties in the U.S such as financial pressure, language proficiency, and cultural difference. The number of Asian international students has increased significantly in the past 50 years. International students increasing enrolment make us think about what are benefits from studying in the U.S.
The economist Kickert states that whenever someone is in a position of picking out one decision from many, then he or she must have determined the costs and benefits involved in each of them (154). For international students, rational enough the final choice would of course bear less or actually minimum expenditure and maximum possible gain.
Although international Asian students make many sacrifices, the benefits of studying in the United States outweigh costs. Financial pressure is a great difficulty among Asian international students, and the investigations of one social writer, Liu, turn out to be rather effective for the chosen field. “In fact, when asked to rank the problems they face, international students usually put finances at the top of the list, followed by lack of friends, lack of English proficiency, cultural difference” (Liu 9).
Asian international students have many financial disadvantages while studying in American colleges and universities. First financial disadvantage is that international students have to pay higher tuition than their American counterparts do in their school fees.
Tuition for international students is much higher than for American students. Students need to pay additional tuition fees that differ considerably from those which are paid by Native American students. The economist Thomas A. Stapleford cites a research by Institution of International education: the tuition cost in American colleges and universities varied from $5000 to $30000 per year.
Average domestic tuition is around $9000 and international tuition is around $20000 in 1999-2000 academic year (Stapleford 89). International students pay more than double of domestic tuition in the U.S. In addition, tuition gap between International students and domestic students has been rising steadily over decades.
Another significant point is the necessity to pay some part of tuition before the education actually begins. Though international students are required to announce about their financial situation and abilities before the process of admission (Stapleford 79), they have to pass a variety of difficulties and challenges.
First, the idea of appropriate financial background seems to be crucial for Asian undergraduate students. They have to be sure about the necessity to be financially supported in case some unpredictable costs are required. However, in order to find a good sponsor, international students have to spend much time and efforts.
And second, the necessity to spend money on food, drinks, and clothes is also integral for many international students because it may easily sort them out under certain conditions. However, the financial side of education is not the only problem for international Asian students.
Since they cannot work part-time job legally except in the school while studying, they cannot maintain their living expenses by themselves. It is illegal for the international students to get jobs in the US while they are studying. Of course, they can get permission to work in the U.S under certain conditions. In accordance with the Association of International Educators region, all international students are able to get a job offer in the area that is related to the academic field of their study.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training, which are permissions authorized by Citizenship and Immigration (CIS), allow them to work in the U.S legally. However, in order to meet these conditions, international students have to complete all requirements for the degree.
In other words, it is almost impossible for them to work part-time job while they are studying in school. If it were possible, international students would have had their financial difficulties reduced. The only place where international students can work part-time job legally is their school where they are studying.
However, it raises small amount of money within limited hours that cannot sustain their living status in the U.S. Thus, it is hard to support their living expenses by themselves in the U.S as many American students do during in enrolment.
There are a lot of limitations of financial loan for undergraduate international students. The point is that with the help of undergraduate student loans, it is possible to pay for different education fees and decrease the level of expenses.
In comparison to American citizens, who have to pass a variety of assignments to apply for financial aid, international students still do not have any access to the loans which are usually provided by public or private organizations for students. Statistics shows that international students suffer from constant rise of education fees: from $ 15, 000 to $ 40,000. This point usually depends on the education level required by a student and the type of the institution chosen.
The investigations of Happer and Quaye in the sphere of education proves that 2002-2003 academic year made international students worried a lot because about 80% of undergraduate students have to be their full tuition without any support or financial aid. Unfortunately, only 24% of undergraduates were able to pay this tuition (Liu 4).
Even if the internal assistance from the university is available, not every student may qualify for it. Breen analyzed that in a case when students used all they had to sponsor themselves to study in the U.S and could get some good jobs while studying but still they could never get jobs; this is why they were forced to cut their studies short or drop it out in order to cater for the needy family back home (178).
This situation even gets trickier in case international students violate the labour laws because some students may be sentenced for long periods or even be deported back to their native countries.
Cultural differences makes international students spend a lot of money and time to adjust. This issue is usually encountered by many international students as a type of limitation to their progress academically and on the social life and considered to be an important aspect of culture shock.
Allan E. Goodman, the president of the Institute of International Education, explains that since the culture in Asia is different from that in the United States, Asian international students may be forced to change their mode of dressing, the food they eat, the ways of how they pray, etc (46).
However, the most significant challenge almost any international student has to face is the use of language. International students who have English as a second language often require extra time to read their textbooks and other tasks.
Further, they are often unable to articulate their knowledge on essay or research paper due to their poor vocabulary Lin and Yi 3). A study conducted by economists Teresa Bevis and Christopher Lucas found that all American colleges and universities (63%) offered English as a Second Language programs (ESL) (181).
They have to spend time and money on improving English skill taking ESL classes. ESL program helps international student with poor English to meet the requirements to enroll their major courses in many colleges and universities.
The sociologist Ferrero admits that most lectures are strictly given in English, books written in English, assignments and examination written in English, and students are expected to use English throughout during the process of communication specially when an associated cost of learning a new language is incurred (95).
Different education system in the U.S decreases academic performance of international students. The fact that the U.S education system is different from the system which Asian international students have been used to in their home country (Lin and Yi 4) limits student progress due to the necessity of adaptation to the system that is used in the U.S. This change brings out matters which have to be learned and to catch up with the American counterparts.
In most Asian countries, the interaction between instructors and students are not active, whereas there is a lot of discussion between students and instructors, as well as students and students in American classroom.
Difficulty to adjust to new educational system is depressing as well as discouraging for Asian international students especially when they compare themselves with their friends who study there. Student abilities may be decreased as a result of such change as well as their performance that declines due to the necessity to start with the concepts which are inherent to the US education system. Lin and Yi point out that the system of the US requires students to be more creative to get ready for the craft and skills required (4).
International Students Can Have Lots of Benefits of Studying in American Colleges and Universities
Though international students suffer from financial and cultural difficulties for studying in American colleges and universities, there are more benefits that they can obtain from the process of education that is possible in the U.S.
Cultural difficulties can be their advantages and assets if they overcome. This advantage lies into the fact that international students get a wonderful chance to communicate with people from different countries with different traditions and cultural backgrounds. If an Asian student in Harvard will get a chance to interact with an African, an Indian, a Japanese, or an American student during his or her stay in the university.
It will be a kind of asset that helps to make cultural identity conspicuous. The vast majority of American students will always like to interact, communicate, and learn with international students because the later introduce new ideas, vision, and approaches to current issues.
Bray and Jeptha, famous researchers in the field of education, indicate that, an Asian student will have learnt both the American culture and other cultures before his/her graduation process that can make him/her a kind of global citizen (47).
The level of exposure will greatly influence interpersonal relations they will have within and outside the college or university. They get to experience cultural difference in the U.S that gives them an ability to understand cultural diversity on a first-hand basis.
In Asia countries, the importance of English is getting increasing. Students need to be ready to develop better understanding of English as a language. English is the official language used in most universities and colleges.
Students are usually taught and expected to talk and to write all examinations in English. Therefore, it is a kind of imperative for new international students from non-English speaking countries including Asia to learn the English language for the first time. It is another benefit to study in the U.S.
Experience cultural difference in the U.S gives them ability to understand cultural diversity which can be great asset in today’s world. Furthermore, foreign researchers admit that in Asian countries, there is an increasing adoption of English as a global language (Lin and Yi 5).
The sphere of business is now developing numerous English websites to attract as many people as possible. Therefore, for an Asian student who has learned and use English, this is a good advantage to get an asset in today’s world (McAlister 169). These investigations by sociologist McAlister help to comprehend the essence of cultural difference and the possibility to earn money.
They can get better knowledge and skills in American colleges and universities. Given the fact that the American educational system is the best in the world, many international students would relish a chance to be educated in the United States. The curriculum is properly developed, and important skills are practically acquired.
It means that the gap between theoretical and practical knowledge is not huge, and Asian international students greatly benefit from studying in the U.S compared to studying in their native countries. Several examples from different spheres of life may help to clear up everything.
In technological fields like software engineering, the U.S colleges and universities are among the best in the world. Exposure to such high quality knowledge fields in the U.S learning institutions will positively influence the lives of international students. The knowledge they will acquire will not only improve their lives but will positively contribute to their native economies once they get back. In such fields, the knowledge development in the U.S is highly advanced in relation to other places in the world.
In the linguistic field, the idea to study a foreign language is another powerful means which may improve students’ understanding of the subject and the importance of deep knowledge. Attention to the details of one language promotes the evaluation of another language, this is why this academic field is developed considerably in American colleges and universities.
International students can get financial advantages when they get a job after completing studying. International students are in highest demand in American job markets in comparison to American students and in the markets of their own countries.
After these students graduate, they get more chances to be recognized in their own countries even in comparison to foreign that are eager to come there and offer their services. It is one of the advantages in order to pursue education in the U.S. The U.S academic system is considered to be of high quality, and many skills are acquired by international students.
The companies that employ international students consider them as properly education people with a solid language background and practice that helps to improve theoretical skills. In general, it is necessary to admit that international students from Asia are more prioritized than other students who attended the schools in the Asian region.
After graduating from American colleges and universities, students can have opportunities to get a job in the U.S that offers higher income than in their own their countries. Many international students on graduating from the universities and colleges in the U.S get more job opportunities in the U.S.
When these jobs are compared to those offered in their own countries, they appear to be better so that an individual is able to earn good money. Professor Altbach notes that “The U.S. is a major attractor of international students who with the aim of staying in the host country to work and make a career because of it large and diverse economy” (4).
U.S colleges and universities are valued for education. Social scientists Ashbee, Balslev, and Pedersen indicate that American colleges and universities are valued for the quality of education that is available to all students regardless of their nationalities (198).
This education is even more valued outside the United States because it is new, different, advanced, and very practical in comparison to other opportunities. For example, in the field of Information Technology disciplines, American colleges and universities offer quite innovative developments which aim at improving the technological world and developers’ deserved recognition.
Reputation of U.S schools in the world. Another important factor that has to be mentioned is a good reputation of U.S colleges and universities. Philip G. Altbach, the director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, notes that “the U.S. is generally seen as the world’s best academic system.
International students feel that the prestige of a degree from foreign universities, especially an American degree, is greater than that of one from local institution” (164).
In Asian countries, most people have a perception that American colleges and universities are greater than schools in their own countries. Once Asian international students are back to their native countries, they are respected, considered for promotion during the formative years in their work places, and able to have an advantage over their local counterparts in job market and.
A survey conducted by Daniel Obst and Joanne Foster who are the international consultants in Institute of International Education shows that 80% of Asian international students agreed with that the U.S has a good reputation around world, while only 32% of Europeans agreed.
In addition, the sociologist Damp indicates that in Asian countries, most people have a perception that American colleges and universities are greater than schools in their own countries (171-172). This perception not only gives a lot of intangible benefits to Asian international students in their home countries, but also meets their parents’ high expectation of studying in American colleges and universities.
The vast majority of people from different countries like Asia truly believe that the chance to get advanced education in the United States of America may considerably improve their lives. Many undergraduate international students from different American colleges and universities admit that their desire to get their degrees and diplomas or to take some short courses influences their present and future.
Students usually required to improve their level of knowledge and be recognized in the job market both. International undergraduate students need to be ready for numerous challenges which are connected to the financial aspect, cultural differences, and personal satisfaction.
Asian international students are those who are going to bring many changes in the environment they live in hence there is a considerable increase in the outputs that make economic indicators of the country more experienced. And this is what really beneficial for students as well as to their countries.
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