In the past decades, the number of students travelling to study abroad has increased drastically around the world. Studying abroad has not only become a popular trend among the students but it has also garnered them many opportunities and extravagant experiences. Globalisation should be appreciated as technology has advanced and so has travelling became easier than before. It is estimated that there are over 2.5 million students studying abroad according to UNESCO report of 2009 World Conference on Higher Education and it is predicted that the number of the international student will increase by 7 million by the year 2020. (2010, n.d.)
Most students mainly prefer English speaking countries to pursue their higher education such as the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Apart from these countries, student travelling to other countries still need to have good knowledge of English, as English is usually the mutual form of communication but even if the locals of the non-English speaking country also does not have sufficient English skills, it could still give troubles to the students especially in terms of administration process. The language barrier does not only limit proper communication between the locals and the international students but also it could affect the mood of the students as they could increase the difficulty of adaptability and also suffer from anxiety. Thus, they will become homesick more often and would want to go back home, deviating away from fulfilling their dreams and such hardship will eventually lead to depression of the students. (Medicine”, 2014)
It has also been reported, students also face loneliness and isolation due to not being able to understand the cultural differences (cultural shock). In addition to that, in many cultures, depression is a sign of weakness and because of that many students may not openly discuss their problem. Thus, they have to go through depression alone without any help. Such a situation can be traumatic and could have bad consequences. (Amar kanekar, 2010)
The W model to explain the stages of cultural shock. According to him, the student experience through the first stage of the honeymoon, which is the stage of excitement to travel to a different country. Then they go through the phase of cultural shock which leads to the phase of homesickness but then they eventually learn to adapt to their culture and in the end they find it difficult to leave the country which they have finally adapted to learn. (J.E & J.T, 1963)
The very difficult part for international students coming to a foreign country can be facing discrimination or racism that could threaten their safety and well-being. They might also be struggling with getting opportunities that could demotivate or discouraged them to achieve their dreams, thus in a long process it does not only remain an individual problem but becomes a societal problem.
Despite all these issues, there are still many international students who are keen on exploring cultures, broadening their mental horizon and it is important to mention that international students contribute a huge amount of income to the host country’s economy. Therefore, it is equally important to take safety measure for the well-being and the harmony of foreign students.