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Problems Facing International College Students in the United States: Critical Essay

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The United States has been the most popular host destination for international students, which increases the need to address their psychological acculturation, which is the process of interacting with another culture and adjusting to life there. However, being international is a minority identity in the U.S., which results in unique adjustment issues that lead to psychological distress. Three main categories cause distress to international students in the United States which are: macrosocial influences, individual background, and individual factors.

Students encounter difficulties as early as trying to get permission to pursue an education in the United States, creating a sense of marginalization. The laws and regulations change frequently, making it difficult for both the student and the administration to keep up, so taking the time before applying to understand all the stipulations involved with studying and working with specific visas will ease the process. Not only that but applying for a student visa in the U.S. is also time-consuming and requires a lot of paperwork and interviews, so it would be best to apply early. With all that, discrimination and hostility toward foreign students have been increasing, leading to a decline in applications and enrollments, which could scare other students from applying. So, not only does the visa process cause stress, but also the anxiety caused by not knowing what to expect is extremely draining, therefore, students should be aware that there are agencies and many offices that help with all the procedures and requirements needed for travel.

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International students in the United States have numerous problems from the process of segregation and detachment to assimilation. Culture shock is a feeling of discomfort and confusion that arises from being in a different country that has unfamiliar customs, and homesickness causes a lot of tension. Not only that but being in a different-speaking country and the language barrier itself makes it laborious to communicate and causes insecurity, which also makes it harder academically as they must study everything in another language. Furthermore, students tend to have difficulty understanding American accents, idioms, slang, and jokes. The language barrier also makes them feel incompetent when it comes to participation and getting involved, making them feel left out and depressed.

Strategies have been developed to accommodate the significant number of international students’ needs and well-being. Studying internationally is much more than bringing back the desired degree, it is also about learning how to be independent and improving adaptation skills. Utilizing student counseling services and knowing that these obstacles are only temporary and are setting them up for future success is also crucial and can be proved using the law of attraction, which is a belief that positive thoughts bring positive results. So, step one is believing that it is just a process and it will pass, and the second step is to always have self-affirmations. After being mentally capable and ready to deal with things then comes getting involved in campus social life, which can have a huge impact on how long the culture shock lasts; finding new strategies to cope with the differences and making new friends also helps. Students should also focus on improving their English skills and understanding American individualism and informality to avoid misunderstandings, and should also look for ways to stick to a budget to avoid financial problems that might lead to accumulated stress.

Various anxiety-provoking factors affect international students' experiences in the U.S., such as feeling unaccounted for, homesickness, having to experience culture shock and academic adjustments, language barriers, financial difficulties, and having to deal with discrimination. Nonetheless, strategies have been implemented that enable students to familiarize themselves with the host culture and to quickly adapt with minimum trouble, such as using international student counseling services, getting involved, and sticking to a budget. There are also numerous ways in which students can maintain their self-esteem, be able to adapt to the new culture, be efficient in English, and lower the overall stress caused due to transition.

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Problems Facing International College Students in the United States: Critical Essay. (2023, October 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from
“Problems Facing International College Students in the United States: Critical Essay.” Edubirdie, 26 Oct. 2023,
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