Impact of language barriers on international student integration in European universities 

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As the world strives to achieve equity in all sectors, including education, many European colleges began offering scholarships to international students. Similarly, learning institutions in this region accept self-sponsored undergraduates and postgraduates as long as they meet the minimum admission requirements and cater for academic and personal expenses. You can’t disregard the advantages of studying abroad, regardless of whether you come from a developing or high-income country. For example, you’ll gain internationally recognized academic credentials and hands-on experiences, besides expanding your professional network. With these qualifications, you’ll have a competitive edge in the job market as well as in entrepreneurship as you’ve knowledge of solving urgent issues. However, what can be key impediments to enjoying these advantages?  

With over 50 countries and approximately 200 languages spoken in Europe, your main challenge would be integrating with the residents. Similarly, it won’t be easy to interact with other international students as they often come from different parts of the world with unique dialects. For example, if you come from the United States and study in France, you’ll need to learn French to interact with residents. Other international students would do the same, especially if their first or second language is Italian or Spanish. However, when you decide to enroll in a foreign language class, you should consider utilizing for academic assistance because of the limited time you’ll have for doing assignments and homework. Therefore, what challenges would you overcome when communication becomes a non-issue?  

Limited acquisition of knowledge in class  

Why do you think colleges in Europe offer scholarships to international students? One of the primary reasons concerns promoting globalization of higher learning education. For example, through the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme, the Hungarian government invites students to study various undergraduate or postgraduate programs. When you apply for these fully-funded opportunities, you’ll have to choose to study in either English or Hungarian. Whereas the two options seem to be a sign of relief to many applicants, the likelihood of one being proficient in characters, gestures, figures, and words at the ages above 17 years is nearly impossible. As a consequence, you’ll struggle to understand class notes as lecturers use English or Hungarian to teach.  

Unable to view diverse perspectives of issues 

Why do many students excel more in their home schools than in the ones abroad? For instance, a Nigerian teacher showing a kindergarten pupil how to do a simple arithmetic problem, he or she will disseminate knowledge not only in English but also in local dialect. Many of these strategies are often fun to engage children and help them recall. In other scenarios, teachers compose songs. A notable scenario concerns remembering the arrangement of the planets from smallest to largest as well as from closest to the farthest from the sun. Do you think higher learning professors utilize the same? 

As European colleges strive to increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), lecturers come up with techniques for making concepts learned in class relatable to their real-world scenarios. For that reason, using two or more languages without considering the availability of international students is inevitable. What’s more, professors encourage students to form study and discussion groups. Although they can do it randomly, these individuals often categorize themselves on the basis of their languages. Such behavior tends to alienate international students. What’s more, during group discussions, learners tend to take a break from academics to tell stories. Due to the language barrier, international students would not actively participate in the conversation. If such a trend occurs repeatedly, some might be unwilling to be part of the discussion group.  

Struggle to access amenities and utilities  

Do you think English as a native language (ENL) and English as a second language (ESL) students use the same words in oral and written English? Without a doubt, it can never be similar. For example, an ENL student might tell his or her ESL roommate to “Pull up and Tidy the covers on the bed” before leaving for class. In this case, the latter might interpret it as “To make a knot using the cover bed.” Similarly, during negotiation, especially on pricing, an ENL student might say “I am down” to signify agreeing. An ESL might interpret it as “Unable to meet your rate.” Such communication breakdown limits interaction and access to amenities and utilities such as entertainment and social walls. 

Highly predisposed to sociocultural stresses 

Sometimes, if you don’t understand a language and you are in a group of students talking and suddenly they burst into laughter, what will you think? International students, especially from Africa or the Middle East, might stereotype the amusement as mockery. For example, an undergraduate from Ghana at a German university could think residents are expressing disaffection. While some diligent students rely on Google Translate to appreciate cultural diversity, it might not be feasible in all circumstances as conversations, specifically informal ones, tend to be random in most cases.  

Whereas the language barrier limits only communication, it tends to influence students’ interaction and assimilation of knowledge. For example, you will struggle to integrate into European universities if you aren’t conversant with common slang. As you navigate this challenge by spending extra hours learning new languages and ways of expressing ideas both formally and informally, you should always depend on websites to catch up with others in class.  

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