I am male Korean American who moved to America when he was hardly seventeen. I had to struggle to come to terms with issues related to cultural diversity, hitherto hostile climate, language barrier and economic hitches. I had to learn to be independent since it was my first trip away from home. Making new friends was a real nightmare. All these problems were inherent on the fact that this was my first trip abroad and I had had no similar experience before. It is indeed important to go abroad at a young age!
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Relative cost of living abroad
The major limitation to pursuing education in America is the high costs involved. College fee in America ranges from twenty thousand dollars to forty thousand dollars yearly for tuition and boarding. This is higher for private and medical schools. Major airlines charge so exorbitantly especially when one boards business class flights. The cost of application to the colleges and the tuition fee makes learning abroad an extremely expensive venture. I am holding this view because if I had gone to America at a younger age, I would have had prior knowledge of what was lying ahead of me.
Employment after and during school
Because of inadequacy of information related to the cost of living and the cost of education I had to supplement payment of tuition and living expenses by working during and after school after I had attained a work permit. Without work permit one can only work within the institution of learning. It is currently extremely difficult to find Universities that offer on – campus employment for undergraduates. On getting work permit I had to submit tax returns or risk arrest. The issue of remitting tax returns compounded my woes for I had to struggle to stay afloat economically. Of course some students without permits do manage to work out of campus, but the punishments have been so severe after September eleventh attack when the Patriots Act was instituted to mandate all law enforcement agencies to use the information on immigrants database to apprehend in case of any infringement. The database is more easily accessible than before. The available jobs are the minimum wage employments without proper remuneration. These jobs pay are not sufficient. Apartments cost approximately seven hundred dollars a month. I do not reside in campus hall of residence, at times am compelled to work full time. High tuition fee and rent payment make life unbearable for me. Work engagements do make me skip my lectures a risky affair that leads to deportation. An undergraduate friend of mine underwent a similar ordeal. The immigration officials have put very stringent measures to those intending to secure jobs especially after the recent recession due to the big number of people applying from different countries to work in America. Balancing between my academic work and the demands of work has been a vicious challenge. Sometimes I score low grades because of poor readership inherent on work obligations.
According to Gisela and Yi (1), posits in International Students Adjustment: Issues and Program that many international students coming from Asia suffer a lot from culture shock. This is mainly the case because the customs and traditions in Asia are different from those in the United States. Many of my friends who migrated to the U.S. at a younger age did not have major problems related to culture shock because they seem to have adapted to the system. This was not the case with me. Within the first few years, nostalgic manifestations controlled the better part of me hence impairment of my concentration in class. I had to learn to eat food that I never used to eat. This culminated into health complications. America is most often referred to, eventhough derogatory, as a fast food economy. I do buy food from the food joints rather than cook because of reading commitments. This was another cultural shock to me because in my home country there are not as many fast food restaurants as we have in the United States. In addition, I was used to being served with home cooked meals. Often, we would share the meal with even the extended family. In the United States though, I find it more convenient to eat out at a fast food, as opposed to say, preparing a sandwich and eating it alone at home.
There is a difference with regard to the time zones between my home country and the United States. For example, back home, I had never experienced such a sever winter period like the one I witnessed in the united states during my first year here. The health policies instituted make it almost impossible for one to enjoy good health care. When it is snowing during winter the weather becomes extremely hostile for me. Before flying to America, I had to undergo preliminary vaccination exercises including getting yellow fever and hepatitis B jabs, and other requisite health checks.
I was reluctant to embracing varying degrees of access to information. This is inherent on limited training in traditional print sources and basic information technology at my formative stages in school. My major problem has been the ability to use library resources owing to the fact that the library is highly digitized. Dorres (1) in Asian Students in Western World say that language barrier greatly affect Asian American. Since English is not my first language, communication with the library staff was and still is a problem. Nonetheless, I am very determined to ensure that I work hard to improve on my communication skills. In case I have pressing issue with my lecturer, communication barrier impedes everything. A major impediment to me has been the accent. My colleague students do make fun at my intonation.
In the article: The Challenges of International Students, the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1) have noted that 59 per cent of their international students come from Asia. As a result, one of the admission prerequisite for the institution is to ensure that these foreign students receive adequate academic writing orientation. Other academic problems that I had to come to terms with after a protracted period of time were related to academic honesty. Plagiarism in particular can lead to expulsion from the college. Plagiarism is abhorred, just as cheating attracts heavy punitive measures. It is imperative that one knows proper methods of documentation and citations. Plagiarism was a major problem in my formative years at the university college. This is because English is not my first language and therefore while completing my written assignments, I would attempt to paraphrase the work of other scholars and in the process, end up plagiarizing.
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Assignments are a major component of student performance evaluation and failure to submit your assignments in time implies failing in the paper. I failed an assignment for having handed my work in late. Issues regarding truancy and absenteeism are clearly spelt, likewise to arriving late for lecture and leaving before the end of the lecture. My course lecturer reprimanded me for having failed to attend his lecture. Dressing code and matters related to etiquette and decorum are outlined. Flouting any of these established norms is punishable. I had to take off a hut from my head after my lecturer insisted on me removing it. Group discussion is part of teaching and it is imperative that a student actively participate in these activities. Participation in group discussions is evaluated. Problem at initial stages was the ability to calculate the weight assigned to different class.
Students intending to pursue oversea education must make sure that they are furnished with adequate information before setting foot on those destinations to avoid going through the problems that I went through in my formative stages of stay in America. Why not consider going for a holiday in such places when you are still young? In this way you will be able to make friends, get new contacts and open your opportunity.
Columbia University. The Challenges of International Students. New York: Columbia, n.d. 26. 2010. Web.
Dorres, Paul.” Asian Students in Western World”. Investigation Paper Number Two. n.d. 2010. Web.
Lin, Jun-chih Gisela and Yi, Jenny. ”Asian International Students adjustment: Issues and Program Suggestions”. College Student Journal,Vol.31(1997): 473.