The presence of international professionals in any organization brings numerous benefits in terms of sharing knowledge, expertise, and understanding of diverse cultural values. It creates a sense of global community and coexistence. Similar effects can be observed in universities. Universities across the globe encourage enrollment of international students.
Furthermore, these international students even contribute significant points to universities ranking that every university strives to achieve every year. However, what concerns more is the experience of international students on university campuses, in not just lecture halls but also their day-to-day life.
Recently, the United Kingdom has announced a new visa policy that allows students to stay longer after their graduation. This new visa policy looks encouraging to fresh graduates who may want to look for career opportunities. But, does the attitude of the universities have sufficiently equipped them to consider prolonging their stay in the UK? Was the university environment receptive and conducive enough to ensure international students to feel comfortable?
The tag, ‘international student,’ itself casts out a chunk of non-UK students which is the first blow to their self-image. Being new to the environment, what is expected more is the sense of acceptance to soothe the nerves of new students who have left their lifestyle behind in the quest for better education and career.
The sense of a superior standard of education imparted in UK universities still haunts the educational system. As a result, international students are usually looked upon, which creates reluctance and anxiety in them. With such meagre, yet significant complex impregnated in the minds of international students, it is unfair to expect them to compete with local students.
Many international students often suffer from an inferiority complex due to the schooling system in their home country. They face challenges due to insufficient coverage of the knowledge and flawed testing criteria they have gone through during their primary education.
Interaction between foreign and home students does open the gates of understanding and free flow of ideas. This process helps them to understand values and promotes tolerance and coexistence. However, foreign students who are already under stress due to change in environment and their exposure to an entirely new educational system, feel burdened with tremendous responsibility at their ends.
Consequently, they find it difficult to mingle with other students and may feel unwanted or unaccepted. Even in the classrooms, international students may feel underperforming and require more attention from the lecturer to comprehend the lecture. Due to this, international students may feel detached from other local students.
It is essential to warmly welcome international students and counsels them with the utmost responsibility. Universities are the breeding ground of young and enthusiastic talents. They should admit their duty as the caretakers of all students despite the geographical boundaries and acknowledge the effort of their students.
Helping international students adapting to a new system of education and gradually introducing the society, culture, and university environment to them can address their problems. It will encourage them to be productive and responsible students and groom them to become a better professional in the future. Ultimately, international students will feel at ease and consider positively to look for career opportunities in the UK after their graduation.