Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Research Proposal

Working Title: Stress Factors Among International Students in America

Topic
I will identify and explore the causes of stress among undergraduate international students matriculating in American universities. This paper will touch on the correlation between political risks in America and the stress it imposes on international students, acculturative stress and the effects of privatization of higher education on the international student population.

Research Question
What are the underlying causes of stress among international students, studying in America?

Theoretical Frame
In a study by Oyeniyi et. al., it was found that 97% of international students studying at South Texas University experience many types of stress, such as “family home problems, language barriers, poor academic relationship with the instructors, relationship with other students, loneliness, financial challenge, insufficient resources to perform academic work and culture shock”. However, because this study is conducted in a state with an overwhelming White population, could it also add to the stress experienced among international students due to the lack of ethnical and racial diversity among its inhabitants?

As an international student, I can personally vouch that I have experience stress from acculturation, political risks and financial despite residing in a diverse American community. Backlash from the events of September 11, 2001, to a certain extent, influenced my decision to study in America. For many years to come, the current White House administration and their obsession with a travel ban to restrict immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries will also influence the goals of many international students to matriculate in American universities. Not to mention, the fluctuation of the US dollar against a country’s currency will also play a role while interplaying with the privatization of higher education in America.

Research Plan
According to Global Cities Initiative (2014) in the report “The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations,” the United States hosts over 800,000 international students during the 2012-2013 academic year. Factors that influence foreign students to further their studies in America includes renowned institutions, high-level research and innovative activities.

Universities and colleges are ought to benefit tremendously from international students; as institutions are privatized, especially public universities like Rutgers University and the University of California system, foreign students are the main source of revenue for these universities as budgetary allocations for public institutions decrease. In the New York Times article by Stephanie Saul, she argues public universities like the University of California system “gave favorable admissions treatment to thousands of higher-paying out-of-state and foreign students” while they single out local residents in seeking additional revenue for the institute.

It is worth mentioning that international students matriculating at public institutions pay tuition fees that ranges between double to quadruple amount of what in-state students pay. In exchange for the same level of education and sharing the same facilities, international students are being exploited exponentially by universities and colleges; at the same time, they are also deprived of financial aid from their respective institutions, which meant they have to be financially stable back in their home country to be able to study in America. Financial challenges, which international students are most certainly not immune of, are a source of stress to which a study by Leong (2015) has affirmed; she concluded that the financial challenges experienced by international students include “1) high cost of living; 2) lack of job opportunities; 3) rising tuition; and 4) high textbook prices.”

In terms of political backlash, when President Donald Trump imposed the “travel ban” on immigrants to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries, many students both prospective and current, were affected. As they were returning from their winter break, they were denied from boarding their flights to the United States despite having visas and the right documentations that vetted their presence in America. This kind of political risk impose stress on students because there is a possibility of them not being able to complete their college diploma.

Working Bibliography

Global Cities Initiative,. The Geography Of Foreign Students In U.S. Higher Education: Origins And Destinations. Washington D.C., 2014,.

Leong, Pamela. "Coming To America: Assessing The Patterns Of Acculturation, Friendship Formation, And The Academic Experiences Of International Students At A U.S. College". Journal Of International Students, vol 5, no. 4, 2015,.

O'Hara, Mary. “The US travel ban would be bad news for American universities | Mary O'Hara.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 Feb. 2017, www.theguardian.com/education/2017/feb/21/donald-trump-travel-ban-universities-international-students. Accessed 28 Feb. 2017.

Oyeniyi, Odunola F. et al. "Stress Factors Experienced By International Students While Attending A South Texas University".

Poyrazli, Senel et al. "International Students’ Race-Ethnicity, Personality And Acculturative Stress". Journal Of Psychology And Counseling, vol 2, no. 8, 2010, pp. 25-32.

Saul, Stephanie. "Public Colleges Chase Out-Of-State Students, And Tuition". Nytimes.Com, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/us/public-colleges-chase-out-of-state-students-and-tuition.html.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Research Blog #3

I try to frame my research topic around a couple of stressors: financial challenges, acculturation and political backlash, as these are some sources of stress that I personally deal with prior to deciding to study abroad in America and during my two years at Rutgers. 

Public Colleges Chase Out-of-State Students, and Tuition

Saul, Stephanie. "Public Colleges Chase Out-Of-State Students, And Tuition". Nytimes.Com, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/us/public-colleges-chase-out-of-state-students-and-tuition.html.

It is about how state universities are prioritizing international and out-of-state students when it comes to recruitment or gaining admission into their institutes, as a measure to compensate for the lack of state allocations for higher education. Public institutions, like the University of California system, exploit out-of-state students by setting a price discrimination in which they are required to pay up to quadruple the amount of tuition fee paid by in-state students. Privatization, which results in a tuition hike, does impose financial stress on international students (hence, presents the correlation between this NYT article with my research topic) because they do not receive any financial aid and are willing to pay the full price tag for the same education and facilities as other students.

International students’ race-ethnicity, personality and acculturative stress

Poyrazli, Senel et al. "International Students’ Race-Ethnicity, Personality And Acculturative Stress". Journal Of Psychology And Counseling, vol 2, no. 8, 2010, pp. 25-32.

This paper discusses the interplay of sources of stress among international students studying in an American university. Most of the information I derived from this paper is about acculturation, such as its definition, and its side effect, neuroticism, which the authors describe to have high correlation between one another.

Stress factors experienced by international students while attending a South Texas university

Oyeniyi, Odunola F. et al. "Stress Factors Experienced By International Students While Attending A South Texas University".

I personally think that this paper sets a great platform for further discussion; since the study is based in Texas, which has a overwhelming White population, the stress experienced by students may be exacerbated by the fact that diversity in the South is not as prevalent as it is in the East. Also, it could interplay with the current political situation in America, where a xenophobic culture is being normalised, which in itself, can be asserted as a source of stress among international students, especially in Texas.

Coming to America: Assessing the Patterns of Acculturation, Friendship Formation, and the Academic Experiences of International Students at a U.S. College

Leong, Pamela. "Coming To America: Assessing The Patterns Of Acculturation, Friendship Formation, And The Academic Experiences Of International Students At A U.S. College". Journal Of International Students, vol 5, no. 4, 2015,.

I looked into this resource in particular because it provided statistics of the international student population in America. At the same time, this paper is unique because it discusses about the financial challenges experienced by foreign students, which are not often discussed in other papers that I have come across to.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Literature Review #1

The Interplay of International Students’ Acculturative Stress, Social Support, and Acculturation Modes.




Citation

Sullivan, Christopher, and Susan Kashubeck-West. “The Interplay of International Students’ Acculturative Stress, Social Support, and Acculturation Modes.” Journal of International Students, vol. 5, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1–11.

Summary

This paper, written by Sullivan and Kashubeck-West discussed the relationship between acculturative stress and social support experienced by international students. As a result, four acculturation models were introduced: integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization. 

Each mode represents different degrees of stress and the level of social support receive primarily from the community of the host country. The paper also highlights the importance of creating and maintaining a relationship with host country nationals as it determines the degree of acculturative stress among foreign students.

Authors

Christopher Sullivan, Ph.D., LPC, is a counselor in University Health, Wellness and Counseling Services at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His research interests include counseling theories, with an emphasis on constructivist approaches and examining the impact of culture on individual and family therapy, with a special focus on cultural transitions, accommodations, and adaptations.

Meanwhile, Susan Kashubeck-West, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Counseling and Family Therapy and the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Her research interests fall under the umbrella of multicultural issues, broadly defined, and include discrimination and stigma related to race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social class and their relationships to psychological distress and well-being.

Key Terms

International students, acculturation, acculturative stress, social support

Quotes
"... acculturative stress has been identified as resulting from and arising out of the act of moving to and living in a new culture, including somatic manifestations, depression, anxiety and decreased self- esteem." (page 2)
"The acculturation mode is identified as an individual’s level of desired contact with the host culture as well as the home culture." (page 2)
"The four resulting categories are related to the attitude or perspective acculturating individuals take with regards to the host culture and people (host nationals) as well as toward the individual’s home culture and people (co-nationals)." (page 2)
"... intentionally developing connections to the host country and having higher levels of social support from host nationals are important aspects in minimizing acculturative stress." (page 7)
Value

This paper provides a brief introduction on acculturation and acculturative stress with a focus on international students. It provides an interesting and detailed explanation about the different types of acculturation modes, which depends on the amount of integration done by international students within the host country's community. 

However, the paper hardly mention reasons why international students succumb to stress in detail. But, that is where the other scholarly articles come in to support their arguments. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Research Blog #2

1. I am still firm with the general idea of my research topic. I would want to focus on international students studying in American universities, but I would probably look into something more specific other than stress factors. Perhaps, look into the effects of President Trump's travel ban on students and university communities.

2. "International students" is definitely a useful key term and it has something to do with the recent Trump travel ban, which had prevented many international students from entering or reentering the country. Though I could not find any scholarly articles about it yet, there is an abundant news articles in regards to the ban and its correlation to international students in America. In one article, the travel ban may also deprive the American economy and universities of revenues.

3. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0951507031000114058 - This article, on top of the ones mentioned below, appears to be important because it wishes to predict accumulative stress among international students in America.

4. There are a lot of topics I have found when conducting this search. Obviously, at this moment, the hot topic is in regards to Trump's travel ban and its effects, such as the loss of revenues in universities and the economy. I also found a new term, acculturation, which is a source of stress for international students that can be described as a clash between two cultures. It is something I am experiencing myself, since the culture I was raised in is completely different that the one I had grown accustomed to in America. Also, I can identify that international students are also a main source of revenue for universities and this in itself can be presented as a stress factor for students, since students like myself have to pay about four times the amount of an in-state student per academic year. In addition to that, international students are deprived from financial aid opportunities and most often, our ability to pay through university is dependent on the exchange rate of our respective countries.

5. http://www.aabri.com/SA2016Manuscripts/SA16031.pdf - The first link inspired the topic of my research. The paper demonstrates what induces stress among international students, such as language barriers, the feeling of loneliness and a sense of isolation. It is useful for my topic because I would like to identify the sources of stress among international students.

http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380360045_Poyrazlit%20al.pdf - This scholarly article discusses about acculturation, which is the clash of two cultures, commonly experienced by international students that study in countries aside from their home countries. It is relevant to my topic because it may be presented as a source of stress to international students studying in America.


6. I couldn't identify any controversy in regards to my topic. Stress factors among international students are risks that students take while studying abroad. It is definitely a calculated risk since students must have the financial ability to pay out-of-state tuition fees, accustom to a new culture, adjust to a different academic environment, among other things. Though, certain parties are continuously taking advantage of international students, such as competing to recruit the most international students to rake in revenues for their institutions.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Research Blog #1

The topic I chose for the final project relates to stress factors among international students studying at universities in America, as this is something I can personally relate to. Therefore, I can pinpoint a lot of factors such as financial/currency rate, adapting to a new culture, as well as maintaining their old culture. It is definitely something of my interest and I'd like to explore it further through the research.