The ability to communicate efficiently in an unknown culture and language is vital for international students. The ultimate gain of any overseas student is attaining high levels of the native language proficiency and should at least be able to make normal progress. However, it may be difficult for some students to learn and use the second language. When students are abroad, learning the host country’s language has notable advantages, and also this learning has many challenges that face students with significant difficulties.
While, developing personal skills is one benefit of learning the new language, lack of progress is one difficulty of learning the host country’s language. One of the most significant advantages of learning the host country’s language is helping to develop personal skills. Having the ability to speak a second language gives us a golden opportunity to discover ourselves while gaining an understanding of a different culture. By immersing ourselves in a new culture, we develop valuable life skills required for personal growth, including adaptability, independency, and more flexibility in thinking processes through problem solving.
These skills can give us an added boost of confidence in our personal and professional life. Being immersed in an entirely new cultural setting is simultaneously scary and exciting. It is an opportunity to discover new strengths, abilities, and weaknesses, confront any social anxieties, cope with new challenges, and solve new problems; as a result, we will realize that we can do much more for ourselves than we previously thought. For instance, one of my friends lost her husband and 5-year-old twins in a catastrophic car crash, and that tragic accident “took a tool” on her life(Keck).
My friend said that many years after losing her family, she had immigrated to America, and started her new life. She said,” the magical power of the new language, new challenges and the new world helped me to improve my personal skills, and thanks to this improvement, I was able to find my new life; I am about to teach myself to believe, “yes, I can.” It will become my new personal motto”. Not every student learns a new language rapidly or makes effective progress in learning ability, and this lack of progress is one challenge of studying the host country’s language. Low progress can have a negative effect on the quality of life of the international students, and can be a “hamper” to success for the students abroad(Keck).
Sometimes, this lack of expected progress is frustrating for me, and I feel increasingly marginalized from this culture that I have chosen. This frustration combines the effects and causes of my perceived failure to progress. In turn, this sense of failure leads me to shame and embarrassment, and also inhibits my practical and natural learning of the new language, so negatively influences my immigration and socialization experience. My SMC consultant told me that learning a new knowledge such as a new language can be impacted by a variety of individual differences including: personality, talent, fear, attitudes, motivation, anxiety, social and psychological issues, and so on.
As I know myself, for example, my fear is the biggest obstacle of my progress; the fear of uncertainty, failure, rejection, and making mistake, as a result, this dread always decreases my self-esteem, and this low confidence creates an anxiety that hinders my ability to learn more. These problems put me in a vicious circle, and to break this vicious circle, much motivation can be beneficial. Teachers always have a key role for engaging and motivating low progress students. Teachers can make the effort to know students on a personal level, such as learning about their interests or their likes and dislikes. When our professor gives us good grades, for instance, it drives me to succeed in order to improve my learning English, and this energy that comes from this experience increases my confidence, and creates the drive to go on constantly.
In short, study abroad has many benefits that I have only discussed one of them. This benefit is gain great growth experiences. Students gain and learn new things while in abroad about their lifestyle and social. They develop personal skills by adapting the situation and slowly to cope with the social life in a foreign country. Confidence increases when a new skill is mastered, and confident people are more interesting than those who are unsure of themselves.
As a matter of fact, in the best of learning situations, there are a broad variety of difficulties that face the native language learner, and the most remarkable challenge is a lack of progress that can have a negative effect on all attempts to learn a new language. The most common environmental and personal factors such as; character and personality, aptitude, panic, tendencies, motivation, anxiety, social and psychological issues, unfamiliar culture and place, and… are the causes of this problem, and our teachers and Collage consultants can help us to solve this multifactorial matter.
- Keck, Nina. “How Technology May Be Hampering Study Abroad Experience.” On Campus | WGBH.org Blogs, blogs.wgbh.org/on-campus/2014/11/17/how-technology-may-be hampering-study-abroad-experience/.