Studying abroad will encounter some difficulties and challenges. In addition to the small difficulties in application such as professional grades, the first problems that will be encountered when living abroad are communication and cultural differences. In a more detailed way, there are “six major problems” for Chinese students living in the United States.
Problem 1: Language barriers
For Chinese students whose native language is not English, language is the biggest challenge they face on the way to study abroad, and it is also the biggest source of pressure in their daily study and life. When English suddenly became the only language for daily communication, for Chinese students, problems such as insufficient English vocabulary, accented pronunciation, slow listening response, and insufficient English recognition of accents from different countries became prominent. On American campuses, which attach great importance to the development of public speaking skills, the most terrifying thing for international students is the various public speeches in the classroom. It can be said that language is a difficult problem that requires a lot of energy to overcome at least in the early stage of international students coming to the United States.
Problem 2: Cultural Differences
The social system and public environment in the United States are very different from those in China. Many international students come to the United States, which is known as the world’s first developed country, and are surprised to find that their city is almost a vast rural area, which is completely different from Chinese cities. And there are countless cultural conflicts in daily life. Many international students find that even if they understand every word in the chat, they often cannot understand the jokes of Americans because of different cultural backgrounds.
Cultural conflict is a very common problem, such as differences in communication with Americans, conflict of views on different social systems, and differences in cultural values between Eastern and Western people. Another example is the club culture and party culture of American universities, and young Americans’ views on love and sex, all of which are different from traditional Chinese concepts. Therefore, whether to stick to their own inherent values or try to integrate into American culture will arouse international students to engage in ideological struggles.
Problem 3: Life Skills
When Chinese students stay in China, their life skills are relatively poor, because their parents will help them solve most of life problems. After coming to the United States to study abroad, they will suddenly face the challenge of independent living: learning to cook, do laundry, do housework, learn to drive, sign a rental contract, open a bank account, etc. Many international students said that when they first came to the United States, they would not use the dishwashers, washing machines and dryers in the student apartments. As for the car, the most common means of transportation in the United States, international students have more problems, such as learning to buy a car, getting a driver’s license, and what to do if the car is hit? Studying in the United States is not only for classroom learning, but also for daily life skills and a comprehensive test of resilience.
Problem 4: Interpersonal Communication
The interpersonal situation of international students can be described as simple and not simple. Most of the international students have no relatives when they first arrive in the United States, and the interpersonal network is a blank sheet of paper. But slowly, they began to meet more people, perhaps American classmates who took classes together, or perhaps international students who also came from China. American classmates are friendly, but they always feel separated by a layer of distance, and there are not many common topics; As for the Chinese classmates circle, there might be different kinds of small frictions, and small battles between Chinese students are often magnified due to the small circle. It also makes many students tired. The relationship between international students and their parents is also caused by estrangement or communication barriers due to time difference, foreign land, Western culture, and different situations.
Problem 5: Academic Difficulty
The difficulties that international students encounter in their studies are usually caused by language barriers. Inability to keep up with lectures in class, difficulty in completing homework, and inactive speech in class are the most common problems for Chinese students. Due to language barriers and lack of self-confidence, Chinese students are rarely able to establish a good relationship with professors. Many American professors have the impression of Chinese students as silent and introverted. Some international students expressed their envy that American classmates and professors were chatting and laughing after class, but it was difficult for them to join their chat; when doing group work, it was obvious that American classmates were reluctant to choose Chinese students to join the group, for fear of lowering the grades of the entire group. The more fundamental problem lies in the difference in educational methodology between China and the United States. Chinese education focuses on memory, while American education pays more attention to conceptual understanding and problem solving.
Problem 6: Future Planning
The life of international students is relatively simple, and study accounts for the main part of their lives, but with the increase of grades, the attention and thinking about future planning also increases, which may trouble international students for a long time. In summary, the issues are employment opportunities, romantic relationships and marriage and age at graduation. After graduation, whether to continue to study or find employment, returning to China or staying in the United States, the question of identity has always lingered. International students need a work visa to stay in the United States, but not every American employer is willing to help international students complete the application. The pressure of international students can be imagined. The uncertainty of future life also often casts a shadow over the romantic relationship of international students, and every decision after graduation becomes very cautious and important.
Before studying abroad in the United States, Chinese international students need to understand these common problems and make preparations to ensure that their study abroad life can be smoother.
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