June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.285.1 - 13.285.8
Challenges for International Students in a Globally Changing Environment Abstract
Indian and Chinese students have comprised the largest section of the population for graduate research and degree programs in North America and other developed countries for more than two decades. Recently, India and China have become the fastest growing nations in technology, science and engineering. For the American university system, recruiting international students will be more competitive in the coming years due to technical opportunities and financial benefits easily achieved in their home countries. Universities and the United States technical community will need to proactively meet the demand for engineers in North America.
International student recruitment has suffered since the global security crisis, which began in 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attack. The tightening of immigration policies and visa issuance in the USA has drastically influenced the number of graduate students studying in engineering schools across the United States. In addition, a series of challenges faced by international students during the journey from the beginning of graduate study to graduation are making student life more stressful than is necessary. Due to newly introduced policy issues, rules and regulations, students are finding their time usurped by government bureaucracy and are thus less focused on research goals and academic study. It is important for faculty mentors to be well informed of potential challenges in advance; this will enable them to help new international students navigate the system and achieve their goals. In this paper, a team of an international graduate student and faculty seek to develop resources for potential faculty mentors and graduate students at institutions within North America. The goal will be to a) make faculty and students aware of some common challenges and b) provide guidance on dealing with these challenges from both a faculty and a student perspective.
There are many advantages of pursuing advanced degrees at U.S. universities. Some of them are achieving leadership in many scientific disciplines, top caliber academics with international exposure, high national spending on research and development, talented colleagues, hundreds of schools, freedom of thought, conscience and expression, competitive egalitarian society, high standards of living, and generous stipends.
For students coming from India or China, these advantages may not be enough. Funding, limitations on employment after graduation, expensive tuition and also visa regulations are some of the concerns faced by international students. Due to various rules and regulations encountered by students combined with India and China becoming the fastest growing nations, high caliber competitive students are decreasing in spite of an increase in students coming to the U.S. to pursue advanced degrees. The number of international students studying at U.S. universities has grown significantly during the past 50 years, from 49,000 students in 1950s to about 583,000 students in 20071. After September 11th, the growth rate of recruiting international students was reduced by approximately 1% in 2002 and due to more stringent security measures implemented by the U.S. government a 2.4% decline in international students in U.S. universities in 2003 was
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