As education continues to become more and more global thanks to evolution in technology and communications, students have become more inclined to study abroad or attend universities outside of their countries. There has been a significant increase of students from the Middle East enrolling in universities abroad. Scholarships have allowed students the financial means and opportunity to study abroad for many different kinds of students from those looking to learn English to enroll in full-time universities to students looking to earn more advanced, higher degrees. In the United States alone, one of the leading hosts of international students, the amount of international students from Middle Eastern countries has increased by more than 20%. Along with preparing to study about their specific fields, international students should also prepare about the cultural aspects they might encounter while studying abroad in the U.S. or other countries. Here are some specific aspects about earning an international education that students should consider:
- Looking into University Policies- University policies abroad might differ from that of universities in students’ home countries. Anything from attendance policies to academic policies should be looked over carefully to ensure full understanding of what might be expected from them once they begin school. Even policies within disciplines and degrees might differ greatly even if they are in the same university. Graduate students might have to adhere to different policies from undergraduate students. International students should especially look over university policies that are specifically for them as they might have specific guidelines and policies they need to follow such as enrollment status or other requirements. Even online programs might have significantly different policies that students are not aware of and need to become familiar with to ensure success.
- Understanding Differences in Writing Styles- University programs all over the world will usually require a significant amount of writing and assign intensive and extensive writing assignments. However, one thing that is often overlooked and not mentioned to international students is the style of writing can be very different depending on the country you are studying in. For example, students from Middle Eastern countries or Asian countries might find North American university writing style very different from their own.North American university writing focuses on rhetorical styles of writing and many students not native to this writing style would describe it as very “direct”. Being familiar with these differences and practicing writing in this style can ensure academic success early on.
- Avoiding Plagiarism- Coinciding with university policies and writing styles, being familiar with plagiarism and what might be considered plagiarism is important to understanding why many universities take it seriously. Most universities will have some sort of plagiarism policy that all students must follow. Many professors will display the policy along with their own course information but many students tend to overlook this important information. Many universities offer plagiarism workshops to help students be familiar with how to cite sources and use research correctly in their essays.
- Practice Target School’s Language- A big part of studying abroad is learning a language and culture. Students should be particularly aware of the language that their future classes will be conducted in and begin practicing even before they have arrived to their future university. Today’s university classrooms also tend to emphasize group work and rely heavily on effective communication between students.
- Always Ask for Help- International students should be aware that university advisors, professors, and staff are always open and willing to help. All students, international and native, are experiencing a new environment and new academic culture so help is open for everyone. Always ask for help if you feel you need it from academic need such as tutoring to just general help such as where to find housing support, there is always some sort of help available for students in a university.
International students can find many significant benefits to studying abroad from language learning experiences to networking benefits. Middle Eastern students might also find that this educational experience can help them in their future careers as well. Students can learn skills that they can later bring back to their home country to help create innovative changes in their fields.