By 2025, more than 8 million students are projected to be studying abroad (outside their home country). This increasing demand for international education presupposes a growing need for student support resources to accommodate a growing international student aggregate. But as higher education systems struggle with state and federal disinvestment (funding and support), it will also struggle with providing necessary resources (staffing, space, funding, etc.) for student success. In the midst of this academic conundrum, international students will seek what other options are available. This is a problem for higher education since it already completes with public, private, online, for-profit and non-profit educational entities for quality international students. The colleges and universities who can’t provide and support their current students won’t be able to attract/recruit new ones.
Did you know that international students have different needs than domestic/traditional students? For example, the need for cross-cultural transition education directly impacts student performance. Many colleges and universities don’t provide the cross-cultural support. If it is provided, many services are often very minimal, provided long after the semester initiated, or are grant funded (which means the money can always be discontinued after the fixed contract). This is truly unfortunate for the international student body. Cultural differences between American college cultures and the norms of international students can influence academic success, social skills, psychological health, and professional development.
If students are not provided proper cross-cultural training before they arrive on American campuses and are not supported during post-induction cultural transitions, serious factors can derail their academic and professional goals (not to mention their overall wellness: psychological, emotional, financial, and physical wellbeing).
As higher education continues to feel the growing pains and pressures to enhance international student recruitment and retention, I believe there is a greater need to prioritize cross-cultural services. If international students don’t experience a healthy transition, they are not as apt to succeed and pass their classes.