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Cultural Clashes between International Students at UCLan

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The United Kingdom’s universities are the second most popular choice for higher education in the world for students from overseas. Furthermore, the interesting fact is that 15% of the student population in the United Kingdom, mostly in England are international students (Al-Quhen, KY, 2012). Purpose of this essay is to provide international students perceptions of their educational experiences at English university. University of Central Lancashire is well-known as a very friendly place for international students from all over the world. By qualitative and quantitative data, this essay is to examine different kind of issues: language, social, cultural, such as other manner or behaviors represents in the same situations. Main point is to present cultural clashes between international students at University of Central Lancashire. Questions in this essay are what are the intentions, purpose and what guidance students from different countries use to study at UCLan and issues they face on daily basis both in a way of study and live.

There is a need of encouragement at a very high level to decide to study abroad. Hypothetically it seems like there is a purpose of facing cultural clashes within the English culture. However, when look inside the University of Central Lancashire must develop their decision making, strategies and change their way of living in a way to deal with more than English origin students. UCLan is very helpful at the beginning of this journey. Staff responsible for international students made their best and still develop to make student’s life easier. The website is a repository of knowledge about how to prepare yourself to study in Preston. Many different forms of communication, airport information and collection and other forms of help are extremely helpful. Students at university level tend to show and highlight their experiences from their perspective of studying and dealing with cultural clashes between different nationalities.

Nowadays there is a lot of opportunities of international placements all around the world available for a wider and still growing number of people. The aim of this essay is to define as well as explore challenges that international students face by studying at UCLan and in the United Kingdom.

How Do International Students Cooperate and What Are They Challenges?

According Michael Byram’s (1997) model of intercultural communicative competence (ICC) there is 5 factors of development to achieve a satisfactory level in intercultural communication, skills of interpreting and relating, knowledge, critical cultural awareness, attitudes (savoir être) and /skills of discovery and interaction. Each of them answers the question ‘what?’ and expand by giving an example of development those skills.

Language Barriers (Idioms, Slang, Local Dialect)

One of the biggest challenges for international students is language. Even though English seems to be an international language. People who are non-native speakers, no matter of years of learning the language, still face many issues associated with it. For many international students who have achieved the language criteria to study in the UK are not prepared for living and dealing with every-day life as well as communication with other non-native speakers. Fluency in English does not affect the academic achievement of international students. Furthermore, it is significantly associated with both academic success and psychological adaptation (Poyrazili, 2003). It may be the most important factor in achieving positive learning outcomes for international students. Lack of language communication skills can lead to confusion, misunderstandings, anxiety and stress associated with participation in presentations and other performances. It can cause the alienation from the side of the students. Also, according to students at UCLan need to probably for the first time in their lives have a contact with Northern English accents and dialects which are not taught at school.

Social and Cultural Adjustment

Many international students talk about mixed emotions in the beginning of their transition as well as recognizing unique and exciting opportunities to mix with those of different nationalities. In order to address some of these negative feelings and enhance the positive, Bartram (2008) suggests that students should be offered counselling and mental support. Not all the international students will actively seek out such support, which means that the university needs to promote these services and encourage them to participate. Essential part of the first weeks is to turn down the anxiety in those students which can smoothly turn into confidence. University of Central Lancashire provide by themselves but also advertise many other events where international students can adjust themselves and find their place at English university.

Study Help

Every country represents their own educational system. Grading system at UCLan can be confusing for international students. Project groups with a mix of students from different backgrounds is a good way to face new terms as a group. Also, there is a platform where students ask other students with help of search of level of studies, area of studies and countries, so nobody is left on their own. This is a great opportunity to find an academic support from experienced students. However, University of Central Lancashire provided a ‘Buddy program’ for Korean students in the 2018/2019 academic year. From all the above, not only international students but every student has the academic advisor on the campus. They can always set an appointment when is needed in their office hours and they keep a contact with each of their students.

Social Networks

The UCLan Facebook community is a place where students can expect all information's from university. It can also help make friends with other people from same or different course or subject area not necessarily form the same country.

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Indian community at UCLan. created the ‘Indian society’ group on Facebook and organize many events to help people from India by sharing experiences to get to know more of Preston and its culture. Apart from the Indian society, Students Union at UCLan are successfully run the Chinese society group. They are holding events such as Chinese New Year Gala, Second Hand Market, matches of LOL, CSSA Welcome Party, singing competition etc. They provide a membership card which contain a discount for shops and restaurants, also lower enters for all the events they organize. provides the latest news from Preston and UCLan campus. It was founded by Ed Walker in 2008. There are many different articles and different way of finding information to gain interest of a wider range of people. This is also another way of helping international students dig into the new society.

Culture Shock

Term ‘culture shock’ is an issue highlighted through many authors and is described via Brown and Holloway (2008) as anxiety from losing acquainted signs and symbols of social sex which is tough to assess. It is a duration of mourning for one’s own cultural context that's also associated with the idea of ‘homesickness’. There is no set time period over which college students enjoy culture shock and it need to be referred to that each student adjusts at a special pace (Brown and Holloway, 2008; Wang et al., 2012). It is a natural human reaction when changing places from familiar to unfamiliar one. What is important is not to avoid and reject thought of having a culture shock, on the contrary once faced will benefit in the future. There are four main stages of culture shock: initial euphoria/ the honeymoon stage, irritation and hostility/ the negotiation stage, gradual understanding/ the adjustment stage and adaptation or biculturalism. Each stage’s time depends on personal adjustment. However, sometimes it appears as a study abroad depression (Go Overseas, 2020). Culture shock is strong component that appears in student’s life when they decide to study overseas. University of Central Lancashire provides many forms of support and one of them is the place called ‘Oasis’. University tries to take care of mental wellness of international students by providing place to meditate, pray and clear student’s mind from anxieties.

Cultural Differences

As already mentioned and supported via the work of Brown and Holloway (2008), students come to the United Kingdom to be able to enhance their cultural awareness and there is a possibility to cross cultural differences in the getting to know the environment. Many students are labelled because of their cultural background. According to Hofstede’s 6 cultural dimensions, every country has their own certain values and beliefs and live in a very different ways than others. It is not easy to adjust to the country which is from two opposite sides of any of 6 dimensions presented by Hofstede, which are: power distance, individualism vs. collectivism, masculinity vs. femininity, uncertainty avoidance, long vs. short term orientation, indulgence vs. restraint (Mindtools, 2020).

Hofstede points out that these factors affect multicultural communication and it is useful to apply them in real life. As a result, people may avoid wrong judgment by lack of knowledge about other’s culture.

Those establishments with international students need to end up familiar with specific values. The wish is to discover cultural diversity on the way of studies. However, there may be a want to adapt swiftly to the new culture. This can project a few students’ progress in becoming unbiased thinkers and agents for change. The combination of struggles of academic and daily life in time of pressure during the transition is a typical student’s experience. Successful transition requires deep knowledge and support to gain enough skills to deal with cultural differences at UCLan and any other university in the world.


To sum up all the above, Byram’s model of intercultural competence is a very useful tool to use in practice for students who decided to study overseas. Also, to understand properly term ‘intercultural awareness’, Hofstede’s makes it clear that every country has its own individual insights about life and their values.

All in all, international students will doubtlessly have many issues and stresses to deal with whilst coming to study inside the United Kingdom. This essay identified main issues that international students are dealing with while study abroad. There are many positive reasons for choosing to an overseas country, however, with an assistance from the foreign student, domestic student and the university. All events provided by university can help them to broaden an international graduate that could make a distinction in their country once they return from overseas experience. It can benefit in their future lives as a proven skill in intercultural awareness and communication within many different nations. Nevertheless, to be able to understand other people from different countries, nationalities, backgrounds, religions, certain values and beliefs are crucial to explore all of them layers. Even if it is not possible to achieve at full, it is essential to be aware of many issues according to intercultural communication existence. There is therefore a need to cooperate to provide high-quality reinforcement, which will encourage large numbers of students within the United Kingdom, England and in this case especially at University of Central Lancashire.


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