Discuss About The Barriers Chinese Students Adopting Global?
Social integration plays a very important role in the general performance, growth, and development of a student in any academic world. However, as individuals seek to integrate socially, they encounter a number of challenges. In the case effective strategies are not deployed to counter the effects of the challenges, and then the probability is that the students with different cultural background may feel isolated in a social context or in classroom is high. This may greatly affect their performance in colleges and universities as well as have long-term effects in building relationships (Armstrong, 2015, p. 2). One of the most common barriers to effective social integration and has affected the development and growth of international students both academically and socially is the language barrier.
In every aspect of life, language is essential in all kinds of communication, including those with speech impairments. In such cases, those with speech impairments often use brail and sign language (Lowinger et al. 2014, p. 146). In other words, communication is often difficult in cases where people do not understand one another. According to Ha and Li (2016), the inability of communicating using through a use of a language is understood as language barrier. According to the study, language barrier is the most common aspect communication barrier that tends to course misinterpretation and misunderstanding between two or more parties. Language barrier often has a direct or indirect effect on individuals, an aspect that is often experienced by students in both local and international students.
Embracing international students in colleges and universities contributes to increased diversity and internationalization of their classrooms; the campuses as well as the communities involved and provide a great platform for learning and appreciating cultural differences (Ngai et al. 2015, p. 772). The development of social media platforms and applications as well as practices have brought a new change and a shift to social integration practices in which many students use the platforms to engage with each other and get to know more about the other student. Accounting, the language barrier has still challenged the effective use of social media to promote social integration in universities and colleges. This study, therefore, seeks to provide an understanding of the challenges posed by the language barrier as faced by the Chinese students in adapting to global social media applications and practices in a case study of the Chinese students at Victoria University.
Social and Academic Integration
The today's globalizing society or community has been characterized by the increased use of social media platforms in our everyday lives. The social media has provided a platform where individuals can freely communicate and interact with each other. The users can as well share knowledge as well as exchange messages regardless of the distance that separates them (Trainor et al. 2014, P. 1206). However Chinese students in international universities and in this case in Victoria University have been found to or are believed to socialize among themselves and therefore they experience great difficulties or challenges in befriending the local students. Social media platforms have been used by different individuals to become more integrated into the host culture as well as get to understand and appreciate the diversity among the students. Therefore intercultural adaptation involves the process of promoting understanding through interaction to increase the level of fitness so that the demands of a new cultural environment can be met (Li & Chen, 2014, p. 120).
Some of the global released statistics on social media usage globally provided that internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts whereas 1 million new and active mobile social users are added every day. It is also provided that 55 percent of Facebook users get news or news headlines from the social network (Lowinger et al. 2014, p. 146). The New York Times newspapers also point out to the fact that 67 percent of all consumers tap networks such as Twitter and Facebook for custom services. However, according to the Global web index, Facebook users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on its multiple platforms. Such statistics show how social media has been used for different purposes and how it has become very important in the modern world in fostering good relationships and enhancing communication.
Social and academic integration has become very important for the Chinese students in Australian universities. The argument of increased language barrier that has affected the integration of Chinese international students has being counteracted by the fact that in English speaking nations, it is the responsibility of the student to improve his or her language skills so that he or she may improve his or her English proficiency (Ha & Li, 2014, p. 240). However, the local students also have a responsibility of facilitating social opportunities and platforms for engagement between the domestic students and the international students.
Challenges Faced by Chinese Students in Social Integration
China has the greatest percentage of internet users globally however despite using the commonly used social media platforms as used by the western countries such as the Facebook and Google. In a systematic study, Ha and Li (2014), the information technology departments in China have developed and created their own social media platforms. However, it is also to note that in China there are not only unique platforms that do not exist elsewhere but also there exist a multiplicity of overlapping platforms and ecosystems that are in constant flux (Bloom, 2014, p. 3). The development of these social media platforms and applications has been made through a technology that allows the user to use his or her language and most of them are also designed to use the English language.
Most of the Chinese greatest population nearly speaks Chinese language and cannot communicate any other foreign language. It is an aspect that has increased the need for more Chinese students to study in other international universities and colleges in order to understand other universal languages such as English. With the greatest number of internet users, most of these users can only use the platforms to engage in social integration through the use of Chinese language (Bertram et al. 2014, p. 120). This has greatly affected their social interactions and integration into different environments and especially in colleges and universities. For instance in our case study of challenges Chinese students are facing in constructing meaningful relationships with students from other backgrounds, it was evident that most of the Chinese students feel isolated due to the fact that they cannot prolifically use English language to communicate and therefore the friends they can make or build social circles across are only those from their backgrounds.
Social platforms are also designed and used by universities to facilitate social integration and a platform where students can share ideas, exchange messages and get to learn from each other as well as appreciate the different cultural backgrounds and diversity. The most widely used internet platforms are the Facebook as well as the Google which is used for conducting information research. These platforms have been designed to use English language and have not yet been customized to any other local language (Wu et al. 2015, p. 2). Therefore the Chinese students could not, therefore, establish social relationships and meaningful engagements. Before the advent of the new technology, the traditional sources of information which were dominant in those times were print and broadcast media, friends, families, and websites in which the students could use to get information about the university courses. However, many youths have now become prolific users of the internet through social media applications such as the Facebook’s, Twitter and Google.
Impact of Language Barrier on Social Integration of Chinese Students
With the increase in technological advancements, the advent of social media and the new social media innovations and developments there has been a great influence for organizations to discover effective and sustainable ways to communicate with the clients and attract the prospective ones as well. The development of this new communication and marketing strategy has been applied to universities and educational institutions to influence international student’s decision-making process (Liu & Brown, 2014, p. 214). Due to the language barriers and inefficiency of other social media platforms to meet the demands of the Chinese students, the Chinese information technology experts have developed other social platforms including the WeChat social platform where the students can interact and share information’s as well as video chats. The development of this social site has had positive implications as it has resulted to increase in the number of students joining international universities and colleges. Therefore the Chinese students have shifted to use of such a platform to enhance their communication and interactions in foreign environments. The platform or the social media platform provides the users with the ability to use local language and translate the language into the language of the recipient of the information (Gomes et al. 2014, p. 12).
The students have been reluctant to change due to their cultural backgrounds as well as the ability to develop other media social platforms where they can interact with their friends. The technological culture of the Chinese people has evolved greatly and has seen to the development of great innovations which have increased competition to the existing technology (Stromquist & Monkman, 2014, p. 3). They have embraced their own technological advancements at the expense of the commonly and widely used social platforms in the world. The resistance to cultural change and adoption of their own technology has improved the modes of communication and marketing in China. However, this reluctance to change has greatly had negative impacts to the students at institutions of higher learning as the environment speaks differently to them (Wang 2015, p. 66). With the new innovation of We Chat which has over 600 million users in China all the other social media platforms including emails have been rendered less useful.
The major language barrier most of the Chinese students face is the proficiency of speaking the English language. During admission to any university in Australia, the students are accessed on certain language proficiency which will enable the at least be in a position to engage in a conversation or what understand each other (Gribble et al. 2015, p. 412). This assessment is however not sufficient enough to make the Chinese students confident to engage in conversations with other foreign students and especially in social media the expectations differ from having one on one conversation with someone. Language is important to person’s self-identity and self-identity is believed to be the contributing factor to having confidence even as you express yourself to someone (Griths et al. 2014. P. 122). It enables a person or an individual to express his or her emotions, feelings, tell stories as well as convey messages. It acts as finance greatest mediator that allows the students to relate and understand each other and it also provides them with a significant frame of reference and relational context that helps the students to sustain their identities (Nguyen et al. 2015, p. 15).
The Use of Social Media for Social Integration in Colleges and Universities
The development of the social media applications and practices is aimed at improving relationships. However, China has always felt that the western media has always had negative impacts to them as it did not cover China fairly and probably what led to innovations of their own technological platforms. However, these platforms only helped them to build their relationship with one another and not with other foreigners (Zhang et al. 2015, p. 806). Such a culture has affected the Chinese international students in colleges and universities in other nations in building healthy relationships and creating the required class environment for studies. It is not the desire of the students to feel isolated in a social context or community. It is therefore important that they learn to adapt to the technologies and means of communication commonly used globally for effective communication. Social media and especially in the context of learning institutions contributes and facilitates to knowledge sharing in online communities, particularly on knowledge related to college or university information, course information as well as creating general relationships (McKinley et al. 2015, p. 290).
The recent rapid growth of the China economy has led to increased innovations and technological advancements. Such advancement in technology has made it difficult for the students as well as the other China natives more conservative to their technology (Yang et al. 2014, p. 250). Despite the continued trade relationships between China and Australia the two countries use different technologies as one is still using the western technologies whereas China is has developed its own innovations. And therefore China social media users not only are more active than those of any other country but also more than 80 percent of the total global internet users. Despite the continued encouragement to use the newly developed applications such as the WeChat, the Victoria University has continued to call for initiatives which will allow and facilitate student growth as China international students in Australia have continued to increase and now are at 42 percent of the total international students and therefore apart from the cultural benefit the Australian government has continued to enjoy great revenue collection from the education sector (Mikal et al. 2015, p. 215).
Regardless of the technological change, it is often important for learning institutions to come up with policies which promote the creation of an environment centered not only to bring the best out of every student academically but also socially and that can only be achieved through creating effective social strategies and policies. The development of social media applications should be done in a standard language that helps to build the user and not the use of local language as that may imply economic backwardness (Gan et al. 2015, p. 355). An effective and conducive learning environment is created where the students can or are in a position to learn from each other through the exchange of ideas and knowledge.
The use of technology is only beneficial if it helps the user achieve a certain set goal otherwise the technology may not be appropriate or relevant to him (Rui & Wang 2015, p. 421). There is need therefore for the China government to develop their innovations or customize them to standard language that can globally be recognized. This will not only help in fostering social integration but will also help the China population to learn a global language. However much it is the responsibility of the university or college management to create a conducive environment for learning it is equally important to for the students to take it as their sole responsibility to practice learning other languages not only and especially to have proficiency in speaking English (Song, 2014, p. 349). The goal or aim of technology is to improve our living conditions by providing solutions to our needs and in this case our social needs. The development of social media applications and its implementation in schools should provide a platform for growth and improved social relations in schools as well as in the community we come from.
In the international education arena, students in the international institutions are facing various challenges that have both direct and indirect effects on their performance as well as interaction with other students. The inability of communicating using through a use of a language is understood as language barrier. According to the study, language barrier is the most common aspect communication barrier that tends to course misinterpretation and misunderstanding between two or more parties. Language barrier often has a direct or indirect effect on individuals, an aspect that is often experienced by students in both local and international students.
The paper has thus evaluated and presented language barrier as a challenge facing Chinese students in their attempt of adopting global social media practices and applications. It has also given a focus to Victoria University as a case study with a focus on the description and comparison of reluctance to change, what holds back the students to adopt change, and how the concept of language barrier is connected to culture and technology.
The literature review has helped me understand the role played by social media in promoting social integration amongst students in schools as well as at the large community. It has also helped me to appreciate the current development and innovations in social media which have revolutionized the communication and marketing strategies used by different institutions and organizations. It is also important to note that it is not a number of technological innovations that a country makes that matters but how the innovations are contributing to the improved means of doing things. Language barriers have affected greatly the use of social media applications globally as such innovations are made using local technologies as well as languages which make it difficult for other users from different nations from using the applications. The development of the innovations should be done in an integrated manner under a standardized language but customization to different local languages can be done for specific. Information should also be made available to all social networks to give the users some preference and a choice on the most effective and reliable source as well as the most convenient social media platform. However, it is still important for the developers of the social media applications to ask themselves as to who is their target consumer of their product? What value will the product or the innovation add to them? Is the product or innovation made for local use or can be used globally? Such questions will ensure that the challenges discussed can be addressed before the innovations are made so that the final product or innovation meets the market demands.
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