Study on international students flawed, redundant.

A study done by the Higher Education Strategy Association asked nearly 14,000 post-secondary students their feelings on how international students impact their university experience. The study suggests that for the most part, students are students feel as though international students are welcome at the university but tend to keep to themselves.

The shocking part of the study regards how respondents felt international students impacted their classroom experience. Only 11 per cent of students in science, math, engineering and computer science and 19 per cent in the humanities, art and social sciences thought international students enriched their experience.

The international student experience is an understudied issue. However, this study features vague questions and uses meaningless terms. Ultimately, it suffers from redundancy. Making friends, overcoming cultural differences and feeling a part of the university community are issues all students face. If this study was done for students in general, the same types of problems would be identified. Universities should be worried about building upon the positives found in the study, namely the 43 per cent of students that have an international student as a friend.

Another issue is the study’s highlighting of competition as a potential point of contention between domestic and international students.  Any advantages they may have on campus are minimal and they have to deal with language barriers, limited off campus opportunities and cultural transition.

This is not to suggest the integration of international students is perfect or their experience cannot be improved. Integration efforts and support systems need to expand as the international student population expands. Domestic students need to remain mindful of the struggles that international students have to go through, especially if trying to make the argument that international students represent increased competition. Domestic students also should remember they can go on exchanges and perhaps they should to better understand what international students are going through on their campus.

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