Interpersonalrelationship between international students and local students in theU.S. colleges
Theinternational students in the United States often crash with that oflocal students because the interests of the two groups varysignificantly. According to a recent study conducted among collegestudents, several international students suffer from extremedepression caused by poor interpersonal relationship with the localstudents. I was inspired to conduct research investigating theinterpersonal association between local and international students inthe US because I have personally been undergoing many challenges thatmake us prefer associating with persons from our home country to thelocal students. Cultural beliefs highly differ between theinternational and local students. The difference in beliefs impliesthat some appropriate behaviors in one culture could be annoying toother people. For example, many Asian, Middle East, and EuropeanUnion students come from backgrounds that emphasize on the value ofreligion during the development of students. Religious education istaught in schools, worship centers, and at home.
However,the American culture and education program does not advocate for anyreligion (Smallman and Brown 19). The students can practice theirpreferred faith as long as they do not interfere with theircolleagues. Unfortunately, lack of strict religious beliefs makessome students engage in bad habits at early ages. For example, manylocal students in US colleges abuse drugs. In addition, they are morevulnerable to engaging in promiscuous behaviors than the localstudents. However, the government emphasizes that students shouldrespect each other irrespective of their religious faith.
Everyonehas the right for practicing their preferred religion in thecolleges, as long as he or she does not interfere with his or hercolleagues. Unfortunately, the contrasting cultural and religiousbeliefs make students from given countries prefer to keep eachother’s company (Smallman and Brown 26). The language barrier doesalso affect negatively the interpersonal relationship between localand international students in US colleges. Several Asian and SouthAmerican students speak alternative students such as Chinese,Portuguese, and Spanish. On the other hand, many US citizens speakEnglish that some international students cannot understand.
Thisexplains the reasons several international students prefer domesticsocial networking instead of adjusting into the local students’circles. However, the American colleges have introduced speciallanguage courses that aim at training students English prior tojoining education institutions. The courses are divided into Englishas a Second Language (ESL) and English as First Language (EFL)courses that help students in learning English easily.
Besides,teachers encourage international students to develop goodrelationships with native students so that they can get assistance inunderstanding the language (Harper and Quaye 7). Nevertheless,learning a new language is a lengthy process that requires highindividual dedication. Potential learners can take up to three yearsto acquire advanced language skills. Recently, many American collegesrequire have made it compulsory for international students to sign upwith language classes prior to joining the colleges. The new policyis encouraging interpersonal relationship between the internationaland local students since there is no language barrier.
Internationalstudents majoring in similar subjects often develop interpersonalrelationship as they often interact in a classroom environment. Somesubjects such as sociology require students to understand the valuesand traditions of other cultures. The subjects encourage students tointeract with the colleagues from different backgrounds.Unfortunately, stereotyping undermines good relationship amongstudents from given regions. For example, some Americans view Muslimsfrom the Middle East as extremists looking for an opportunity to harmAmericans (O`Meara et al. 23).
Onthe other hand, students from impoverished third-world countries areviewed as savages, as well as potential chronic disease carriers.Although many colleges in the United States provide cross-culturaleducation that helps in breaking stereotyping attitudes, extra effortis needed for overcoming the fear. Nonetheless, the inception of theinternet technology has improved interpersonal communication amongstudents in the US colleges. The students can share information anddiscuss trending issues online. Unfortunately, students attendingbrick-and-mortar classroom are still vulnerable to stereotypicbeliefs that hinder open interaction (O`Meara et al. 28).
Racialdiscrimination is a major hindrance for interpersonal relationshipamong the college students in the United States. Internationalstudents to come from different ethnic backgrounds such as theChinese, Latin Americans, Spaniards, and the Africans that appear tohave stronger relationships with persons of similar ethnic group thanwith their colleagues from different racial background. On the samenote, the social statuses of students do influence theirinterpersonal relationships in a college environment (Harper andQuaye 13).
Studentsfrom wealthy backgrounds tend to have strong interpersonalrelationships with other students from the same financial class. Thewealthy students often have similar interests that enhanceinterpersonal relationship even outside the classroom environment.However, performance achievement is a major hindrance tointerpersonal relationship among students than racial discrimination.Since 1950s, the United States prohibited colleges fromdiscriminating on students based on racial or ethnic backgroundthrough abolishing the “Separatebut equal policy(Smallman and Brown 33)”. However, some colleges admit giftedstudents that have attained high grades while others admit studentsof average performance.
Smallman,Shawn C. and Brown, Kimberley.Introduction to International and Global Studies.Univ of North Carolina Press, 2011. Print.
O`Meara,Patrick, Howard D. Mehlinger, and Roxana M. Newman. ChangingPerspectives on International Education.Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. Print.
Harper,Shaun R. and Quaye, Stephen John. StudentEngagement in Higher Education: Theoretical Perspectives andPractical Approaches for Diverse Populations.Routledge, 2009. Print.