Difficulties that International Students Face in Writing

International students often come from different countries which have different cultures. Some of these countries do not use English as the first language. Therefore, when these students go to study in countries like the United States, they often face challenges concerning their writing assignments. These students turn in assignments that have grammatical, syntax and spelling mistakes. Different concepts are also taught differently in other countries and this adds on to their challenges. For instance, some countries emphasize on writing the thesis at that end of the paper while in some, the thesis has to come first.  Some countries also teach their students to work purposely for the passage of exams. Other countries, insist on understanding these concepts through assignments done in teams. This paper seeks to highlight some of the challenges that international students face with regard to writing. Most of the challenges highlighted have everything to do with the different cultures, the different learning styles and the purpose of learning which is either to gain insight or to pass exams.

International and domestic students from varied cultures and backgrounds often experience linguistic problems with writing assignments. They encounter issues with vocabulary, grammar, syntax and spelling. The students also have difficulties in keeping up or understanding the readings which form the basis of written assignments. The problem is worsened by the fact that some people may possess appropriate language skills but cannot identify the types of writing assignments given in the college programs. Most of the high schools in the United States ask students to write papers that emphasize on their personal expression. Scholars may be asked to state or defend their individual opinions or in order to engage their creativity in solving the problem that has no specific answer. These types of writing assignments may not be familiar to international students who always find them to be so confusing. The current paper seeks insight on the difficulties that international students have to deal with in writing.

International students find most of the written assignments to be confusing for various reasons. First of all, the objective tasks that are outlined in various secondary education programs in some cultures have a primary focus on knowing the right answer rather than the development or expression of opinions. Therefore, when students from such cultural backgrounds join colleges in the U.S, they expect that all the writing assignments which are supposed to prompt their personal opinion will all have one right answer. Secondly, some other cultures emphasize on the transmission of knowledge rather than the formulation of opinions about it. Students from these backgrounds will therefore have problems when asked to interpret or critique a given reading. Similar kind of assignment is difficult and unfamiliar in such a context and students may fail to make judgments if it is not clearly explained in the instructions. Additionally, some national traditions do not acknowledge the opinion of a novice on a topic that they know little about. Thus, the majority of coursework in American colleges may seem absurd, which encourages students to form some kind of rational arrogance by going against the cultural expectations.

International students may have a varied understanding of the rhetoric styles that are used in the U.S. this makes it difficult for them to adjust to the anticipations of the U.S faculties. For instance, in some cultures, students are taught to conclude a paper with a thesis statement. Thus, they have to begin their writing with background information and justification. It is not the case in the U.S, where the thesis statement has to be written first. Some students also find the style of discourse used in the U.S to be unconvincing since arguments are always presented prior to the establishment of a suitable groundwork. As such, when they apply rhetorical conventions of their respective cultures’ in practice, their work ends up lacking a clear structure of argumentation and/or solid proof of the thesis.

Some cultures use communication styles that can be considered to be more or less direct compared to that used in the U.S. For example, many encourage students to appreciate the use of subtle and sophisticated hints at some points in the writing. It means that the reader is tasked with the responsibility of bringing these concepts together. The use of rhetoric styles therefore seems like an overly unsubtle, explicit, or even childlike concept to international scholars who come from countries that value less direct writing style. Such students have difficulties adapting to or even understanding the expectations of the U.S college courses.

Large amount of international students come from states which do not use English as their first language. What is more, the majority does well in the proficiency test, which gives them the confidence to join learning institutions in the U.S. However, their way of speaking, combined with verbal and their accent, makes it difficult for them to communicate effectively when they need assistance with their writing. They might struggle to grasp the concepts taught in class, which is then reflected in their writing performance in terms of unclear expression of ideas. English is the only official language used in the college classes. Correspondingly, graduates are expected to read, interpret and understand notes, tutorials and lectures sent to them in this language. Much of the time, the written tasks require them to incorporate abbreviations, terms and certain idioms that are unfamiliar. Additionally, they are expected to submit these assignments in strict U.S English. It might be challenging, because the spelling of English U.S. words differs from what other nation-states like the United Kingdom practice. Thus, grammatical errors dominate their written assignments.

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In some countries, teaching approaches put an emphasis on ensuring that students have the right skills for answering each of the different questions. Such scholars do not value research and its importance in helping them learn an array of concepts and approaches that can also answer the given questions effectively. Their thoughts are often constrained in these answers. Correspondingly, when they join colleges, where they are expected to carry out research as part of the coursework, it becomes difficult for them to integrate the ideas from research with their own ideas. Graduates rarely integrate their passion and their opinions into any of the assignments and this is reflected in the way that they organize their findings. The research papers that these individuals present, in most instances, summarize the main ideas of the various authors. It makes their form of writing to be in conflict with that used in the U.S where students are encouraged to express their opinions rather than restating facts. The expression of opinions encourages writers to defend their main arguments ingeniously rather than giving a plain answer to the questions asked. The concept is sometimes confusing and unfamiliar to international students.

The system of education that is used in schools all over the globe often differs on a country to country basis. In some states, the distinct form of learning that stands out is that which fosters confident communication, problem solving abilities, critical thinking, and autonomous learning. Foreign students from different cultures need to conform to such learning customs for them to be at par with the other enrolled. The completion of a given task often necessitates that the students work within pre-determined groups or independently in the context of their individual parts or the whole task. Most often, juniors are also required to present concise solutions through the critical evaluation of the different scenarios. Accordingly, the majority of graduates may fail to coordinate these activities properly and produce poor quality work.

Several strategies can be put in place to help solve some of the challenges faced by these students. A performance rubric or a scoring guide can be employed with the view of assisting these people in identifying separate parts of the writing assignment and the expectations from each section. Such augmentation is paramount, since different tutors have sundry writing expectations, which are different from that of their students. Such discrepancies can be explained by the cultural differences and the disparities in the variety of teaching styles used by the members of the faculty. It means that, the rewards and values that one member of staff has towards the students’ writing, making it difficult for international and domestic students to clearly identify the expectations of their tutors on the different writing assignments. The rubric will therefore help the students to identify the components of good quality writing works of a given course. It can aid them in recognizing and acquiring the needed skills, subsequently giving them a chance to perform well.

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Another important strategy that could help solve this problem is the use of centers for intercultural communication. Such centers will design platform that will enable international students actively get involved by writing several assignments. It will help them to improve on their vocabulary, syntax and grammar through the rigorous practice. Tutors could be hired to help students in these centers to improve on their writing. Student should encouraged to emphasize on creative thinking and originality when writing informal pieces which are crucial in helping them to discover themselves. Teachers may also emphasize on the development of clear and well-reasoned arguments which are characterized by natural fluency when writing formal pieces. The necessary results can be achieved provided that the instructors help their students to identify the integral components of good writing and to apply them effectively based on the needs of a given stint.

International students always have to deal with numerous challenges with regard to writing assignments. They usually come from different countries which have different ideas on the concept of writing. Graduate may also originate from states that where English is not the first language. Most of the international students in America come from Canada, China, Saudi Arabia and a number  of African countries which use different curriculums and approaches to teaching. Scholars and their instructors frequently have different expectations on the required output of a given assignment. It is, therefore, important to develop strategies that will help these students to deal with these challenges, so that they can be at par with the domestic students.