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.


  1. This is a timely topic, and while I hope that courts will rule against Trump's travel ban, it seems likely that he will come back with measures that might stand up better to legal scrutiny. So this will be an ongoing controversy through the semester. And even if Trump does nothing right away, the ban has had ripple effects throughout the international student community that will last for a long time.

    Your are right to point out, though, that you will not find academic sources right away on the travel ban itself. Instead, you need to find a way to frame the topic that will allow you to engage academic sources on that analytic or theoretical frame.

    One basic frame begins with why the US has seen an increase in international students to begin with, and that has a lot to do with privatization. Basically, as colleges (including flagship state institutions like Rutgers) experienced funding cuts from the state, they were eventually freed from paying back the state for taking out-of-state students, which is where the extra charges for out-of-state and international students originate. Now the states are allowing universities to treat these extra charges as extra revenue to compensate for state cuts. The state of NJ only began allowing that in 2011, after which enrollment managers immediately started recruiting overseas, especially in China, with the goal of increasing revenue. Many "state" institutions, designed to serve in-state students, are now serving a majority of out-of-state and international students. Rutgers is far behind the crowd, but they are competing for the same dollars. Though that, too, is a relatively recent phenomenon, there should be academic sources analyzing the way privatization has increased international students, and it is a source of controversy as some states have seen challenges from those who think "state" institutions should be serving in-state students first and not denying them seats in favor of those who will pay more.

    1. Meanwhile, it is worth noting, as tuition has reached record highs there has been a leveling off of students from the US -- and we are also headed for a period with lower high school graduating classes than have been seen over the past decade. This will mean a shrinking stream of US-born college students to draw upon. So, basically, if privatization continues, US colleges will absolutely NEED international students just to get enough students to stay afloat. Basically, America NEEDS international students, now more than ever, so the travel ban is complete idiocy, not only because of its Islamophobic motivations but because the very people pushing it also favor privatization.

  2. After writing, I checked projected high school graduation, and it appears declining in the near-term but close to flat over the next decade:

    Flat, while not as bad as declining, is not good either if you are looking to increase enrollments or have a good market for enrollment from the college perspective. But in the Northeast, including NJ, it will definitely decline, emphasizing the need to recruit out-of-state and internationally for schools in our region. (Use the "find" feature to look for "high school graduation" and it will take you to the most useful charts -- which may also be useful for your presentation if you choose to cover this info.)

  3. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/01/31/mit-engineering-student-from-iran-barred-entry-into/fQBJ7kLIhY7P79YNKVKtTN/story.html