Common Problems Faced By Non-native Students In English Medium Colleges

Common Problems Faced By Non-native Students In English Medium Colleges

English has been accepted as a global language. Even though there are more Mandarin speakers than English speakers, it’s still noticeably a dominant tongue.

Most institutes of higher education operate only in English which can pose a barrier to success for non-native English speakers.

In countries like the Philippines, India, China, and more, English is taught as a second language in schools.

So, what happens when non-native speakers finally transition to English medium colleges?

What are the major adjustments to be made?

Explore the challenges faced by non-native students attending English medium colleges.

Language & Communication Barrier

In their native countries, students are taught to focus on grammar and vocabulary more than pronunciation and enunciation.

After years of colonization, it isn’t uncommon for non-native English-speaking countries to develop their own dialects, phonetics, and grammar.

Unfortunately, this isn’t officially recognized by English medium universities and colleges that prefer to follow a UK, Canadian, Australian, or USA-based language system.

In college, we follow a formal tone of voice while both communicating verbally and in writing. With the normalization of informal speech in online communication, it’s only becoming more difficult for non-native students to keep up.

Difficulty in Writing & Reading Comprehension

Academic language is a lot more complex and technical compared to the kind of language most non-native students are used to.

Scholarly articles, books, and essays are challenging to follow because they’re structured in different ways that a non-native learner may not be accustomed to.

Assignments have strict rubrics and methods of completion. These rules must be followed for a fair grade.

More often, students get lost in translation. They may think, process information and respond in their native language and turn them into English but it isn’t possible to translate all thoughts into English. It would not come across as formal or academic language.

The student needs to be able to independently think in English.

Cultural Differences Amongst Students

A cultural divide between native and non-native English speakers is inevitable.

From language and slang to social cues and morals, the perception of each student is different.

For example, consensually Japanese students value time management and punctuality more than most American students; this is the influence of a homogenous and multicultural upbringing, respectively.

A motivational idiom like ‘break a leg’ could be misunderstood by a non-native speaker.

Such cultural differences may pose a rift amongst students and make it difficult for non-native students to adjust and get along with the natives.

Facing Discriminative and Biased Behavior

Apart from the more obvious issues, non-native students also face the stigma of not being as smart or worthy as native English speakers. This leads to discrimination against them.

Sometimes, biased and discriminatory behavior is the result of a chain reaction. If students witness the higher-ups’ prejudice against non-native students, it could influence the way they see them.

These harmful stereotypes negatively affect the mental health of non-native students.

Low Academic Achievements

As a non-native English speaker, you may occasionally feel discouraged from doing an important assignment.

Even when you know you have the intellect to pass a class, the inability of the school to accept non-English language essays and research papers will diminish your overall academic score.

There’s always an emphasis on English grammar proficiency and having a vocabulary of a certain level in college.

The non-native students’ unfamiliarity with the academic expectations and demands of the courses in English medium educational institutes can result in lower grades too.

In these cases, you can hire someone who can do your paper for you.

This way you don’t have to compromise on your college GPA.

Help Bridge the Gap

Non-native students can be encouraged to perform better and grow comfortably with some support from their educators and peers.

Among other techniques, building a safe space for such students and (the college) being open to criticism is the best way to boost morale.

Learning a new language takes time and has incredible outcomes. With daily practice and positive psychological practices, you can master spoken and written English!