Attention getter- “Did you have a lion in your backyard when you were growing up?” “Did you have to hunt for your food?” Reveal Topic- These were the questions asked by my classmates when I first moved to the United States. Often times, international students are asked bizarre questions about their culture. Frequently, international students are asked what their names mean and although most may know, some don’t have the slightest idea.
My name, Taiwo, means first of the twins to be born and the first to taste the world. From the audience survey I received back, only 2 out of 16 people that took the survey knew the meaning of their name. Most questions asked of international students can be humorous but some are very offensive. Credibility Statement- I moved to the United States when I was 12 years old, and my biggest problem was readjusting to the weather, which by the way I’m still not adjusted to.
In Nigeria, my home country, there are only two seasons which are the wet and the dry season. Although I am not an international student, I can relate because I had to go through so many changes and at one point it was unbearable. Each year, Johnson County Community College is home to international students from more than one hundred countries with their own cultures, skills, and struggles. Preview of main points- Today, I am going to inform you about international students struggle with challenges like cultural and social adjustment. Connective- First, I would like to explain
I. International student’s struggles with cultural adjustments. A. According to Gregory Trivonovitch, there are four transitional stages: a honeymoon, hostility, integration/acceptance, and finally, the home stage. 1. The honeymoon stage is described as the stage full of joy and excitement because most international students that are just arriving are captivated with everything new.
They a excited to start studying at a United States university. The second stage is hostility that “is characterized by frustration, anger, anxiety, judgementalism, fear, and sometimes depression” (Claremont). The third stage is integration and acceptance, meaning when international students start to feel comfortable and relaxed in their new environment.
At this stage they can join different clubs like the international club. The international club at Johnson County Community college “brings together students from America and around the globe for educational and social activities” (Johnson County Newspaper). The last stage is the home stage. This final stage is the “feel at home” stage that allows the students to absorb both their culture and the American culture. 2. Students go through these stages because they feel that they have lost but at the same time gained their identity.
B. The anxiety and stress of being separated from their families, relatives, and their friends in their native countries can be overwhelming for them. 1. Leaving a culture and surroundings that one is very familiar with while transitioning to a new one can be difficult. 2. For instance, my friend john, an international student, said he asked one of his friend to “hook up”, meaning he wanted to hang out, but his friend taught he meant to “hook up” “hook up” as in sexually. John also mention how difficult it was for him to adjust to this new lifestyle and is still learning how to.
Connective- Now that I have informed you about international students struggle with cultural adjustment and along with it explaining the four stages of cultural shock, II. I am going to explain international students’ struggles with social adjustment. A. International students usually stay in the United States for a short period of time or depending on how long they study for. They face sets of challenges such as interacting with others and making new friends.
B. “International students may also experience a loss of social status and self-respect because their social standing in their home country may not be recognized in the U.S.” (Eunyoung). 1. Even though their suffering might be too much there are ways to manage. As mentioned earlier, the Johnson County Community College International club is a great way to network. a. The club “is an organization that works to increase international understanding and friendship” (JCCC brochure).
b. This club as many goals in mind like “support for new students, social activities that increase awareness about American culture, fundraising activities to support scholarships for international students” and more (JCCC brochure). 2. Fear of belonging and coping with it.
Conclusion- In closing we have learned the struggle international students face with challenges like cultural and social adjustment challenges. International students badly need to be given full initial and ongoing explanations of what is expected of them, how the system works, and where to get help. Being in a country you’re not familiar helps you learn. If you go to a foreign country you are not familiar with, these tips will be very useful in adjusting without any complications.
“Stages of Cultural Adjustment.” CGU Writing Center. Claremont Graduate University, n.d. Web. <http://www.cgu.edu/pages/945.asp>.
Hurtado, David. “Students Clubs Aim to Increase Involvement.” The Campus Ledger 21 Sept. 2012: 6. Print.
Johnson County Community College International Club. Johnson County: n.p., 2012. Print. Eunyoung, Kim. An Alternative Theoretical Model: Examining Psychosocial Identity Development of International Students in the United States. Rep. Project Innovation (Alabama), n.d. Web.