Disucss about the different expectations of the international students at their universities.
The increasing number of students moving out of their respective countries to pursue higher education there is significant in the modern days. They travel to foreign countries to study because of several different reasons despite of the involved cost implications. This papers takes a comprehensive look at the different expectations of the international students at their universities.
Through a very recent survey it has been identified that the international students finds it really motivating to study in a foreign country because of the belief that they and their close contacts have in the quality of the education that the country would provide to them (Kamal Basha, Sweeney & Soutar, 2015). For example, most of the international students find that the American educational degree is likely boost they prospects of job employment, their desire to strengthen their skills in English Language and their interests in staying in United States after their completion of graduation. With the same, majority of the respondents of the same survey have indicated that the availability of their desired programme of study is the major factor that insist and encourage them to choose the institutions of United States. The number of international students in the universities of some of the countries are increasingly getting high.
Fig 1: The top five universities with highest percentage of international students
From the above figure it is clear that in most of the popular universities, the number of international students getting admitted is high rather than the local ones. The American University at Sharjah is at present the highest international student holder, i.e., 83.7% and the next is the Central European University with 77.4% of international students. It is also to mention that the major factors that are regarded to be the key drivers for the international student are the belief that they possess and their interest in improving their skills and fluency in foreign language. Most of the foreign student’s belief that they would receive better quality of higher education abroad than they actually have in their own home country (Scutter et al., 2011). One of the recent study has also identified that the majority of the foreign students possess the belief that studying abroad has high possibility of improving their career and employment prospects. In current era, each and every individual is very ambitious. People just don’t get education to learn new things, but to earn handsome money to meet all their needs and wants (Galbraith & Delisle, 2015). Hence, work and career prospects are considered to be two of the great motivators among almost all the group of students belonging from all over the world in this modern days of intense competition.
The quality of education as well as the job prospects are the most dominant consideration for most of the foreign students along with some significant variations by the region or country of the students. Majority of the research findings have identified that it is the friends, family and peers of the student that influences his choice and affects his decision making process (Castleman, Schwartz & Baum, 2015). However, it is also to note that the degree to which this group impacts the student’s choice indeed differs from one country to other and one age group to other. Also, the information sources too plays an important part in forming the decision of the students as well as they lay a significant foundation for the type of expectations that the students have regarding the institutions (Wiswall & Zafar, 2015). As it might be expected, the most common source for the students for accessing the information regarding getting educated in the universities of abroad are word of mount, internet, education agents, publications, university course guide, etc. Furthermore, according to Wilkins & Huisman, (2015), the three important sources which actively contribute to the formation of the expectation of the international students regarding universities are that of personal sources, marketing communication and institutional sources. Austin & Pinkleton (2015) in this context have stated that effective marketing leads to the formation of the realistic expectation of what the foreign universities could offer the children without leading to unrealistic expectation or even offering the promises that might not be met later.
However, the thematic analysis of various data and researches that are available have revealed that the factors which plays the most important role in shaping the decision making process of the foreign students broadly fall under nine different categories and they are the content of the course providing in the foreign universities, the reputation of the universities that they desire to study in, their financial considerations, the location of that university, the career outcomes, the entry standards of the university, their potential to get international or foreign exposure, the suggestion and recommendation of significant others and the other considerations including the facilities available, the quality of the teaching staffs, the cultural diversity, scholarship availability and the overall atmosphere of the university (Collins et al., 2014).
Basically, the expectations of majority of the students is that their course would involve a lot of hard work and it would be challenging. Also, different students from different field of study expects different things from their respective course (Vahlne & Johanson, 2017). Some of them expects their course to be of high standard and that it would offer them lot of interactivities while the others expects their course to offer them lot of exposure to industry that would finally make them work-ready upon the graduation. Also, there are some students who expects their course to offer them an in-depth knowledge about the subject and let them involve in practical training. With the same, majority of the international students expects their classmates to possess similar bend of mind as themselves. Although, they also expect to encounter unfriendly and racist behaviour as well in their classes and hence, they get ready to face that. However, maturity, smartness and intelligence are some of the qualities that the international students expect to see in their classmates so much so that they would need to have put in more efforts to keep a pace with their classmates (Muenks, & Miele, 2017. Also, most of the foreign students expect their student life to be a lot of fun in foreign universities. They expect lot more partying, meeting up with new people, late night outings etc. There are notable differences in the learning and the teaching styles when collated to one’s own nation of origin. Foreign students expects that they institute in which they would be joining, the teachers there would respect the independence of their students. They expects the teaching style to be revolved more around the qualities of the lecturer or tutor and less on their academic achievements. However, there are also some students who anticipate their lecturers to be very knowledgeable as well as have strong links with the industries, but most of the students opine their lecturers to be flexible and helpful.
Hence, from the above discussion it is to conclude that this paper has brought forth the expectations of the international students, particularly in the six distinct areas such as the course curriculum, facilities, student life, support services, classmates and teaching staffs. If these expectations are not considered by the universities, it might lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement on the part of the international students. However, although it is important to know what international students expect from the universities, it is also understandable that the universities might not be able to meet all their demands. Therefore it is suggested that universities must effectively manage the international students’ expectations and clearly communicate to them what they could offer to them and what they cannot and why so. It would open up communication channels in between the universities and the international students and would also help them to improve the level of transparency in the operations of the universities.
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