Many international students are taking online courses from American universities but they are facing cultural and language problems with this. It is a well known fact that America offers some of the best degree programs and has enviable number of universities catering to various educational streams. Today most of the top universities have started offering online courses, which help international students to pursue the course, without having to relocate. The lure of studying in top notch programs attracts international students to these online universities and their programs. However, it is not an easy road for them as there are many hurdles and obstacles that they face while pursuing the online degrees.
For international students, it might become difficult to understand all the cultural references being made within the course structure, especially for online students as they are not in the country to understand the full meaning of it. Furthermore, when a group of 5-6 American online students start conversing in the virtual classroom, the international students may feel left out or may not follow the conversation at all. To overcome this barrier, students need to learn more about the American culture by ways of reading, watching sitcoms and having regular talks with classmates. Students can also learn more about the prevailing sports culture so that they are able to blend with other students.
Different Time Zones
This is one of the major obstacles, especially when the classes conducted are synchronous wherein students have to log in at a particular time. Those students who live in the opposite hemisphere as for them it would be late-night when it is morning in America. This means, that such students have to learn though the night and if working, they would then have to go work. On the other hand, there are asynchronous classes wherein students can log in according to their convenience and access the study material and video tutorials. The latter option is much more feasible for international students. However, most online university programs require group work and thus, students may have to stay up awake until late at night.
Heavy Demand for Writing
Online courses are heavily dependent on writing assignments and conducting research for papers. For international students this could be a major issue as they may not be adept in the written language and thus find it difficult to carry on with the writing assignments. While most international students applying for online programs may be well read in English language, they may not be well versed with writing extensively in English language and thus find it difficult.
Linguistic and Accent Challenges
Prior to formal English education, international students are usually taught in their mother tongue or their English language is extremely influenced with their local dialect. Students face difficulty in processing the lectures and thinking critically in English language. Furthermore, there is difficulty in understanding the lectures as professors tend to speak fast and have their own accent so there is little understanding of the subject. International students, due to their limited English usage also shy away from group discussions after the class work. To overcome all these obstacles, it is highly recommended to be well versed with the language and study how average Americans converse. Watching American sitcoms is the best way to learn the language and also understand their accent. Students can also take up classes before enrolling for the course so that they can catch up with the linguistic barriers.
It has been observed that international students when apply to online colleges, they expect a much rigorous and intellectual academic environment that stimulates much more studying. However, many courses do not meet these expectations and international students are left unsatisfied. It is therefore advised that students first learn about the course beforehand and judge whether the course will help them in their career choice. By studying the syllabus in detail, there will be a better understanding of the course.
Lastly, while online degrees are being readily accepted worldwide, there are still places that do not deem online degrees as worthy as a traditional one. For international students, if their home country does not recognize online degrees as important, they may face problems in employment and their hard work may be rendered useless. Before international students enroll for any online programs, they should first verify whether their country recognizes an online degree and whether employers give credit to such degrees. Only upon verification should they pursue an online program. As one can see, online programs in the USA have their own set of barriers, especially for international students. Students should be well aware as well as be prepared to face them in order to continue their education. Today students have knowledge of all these barriers and therefore most of them take efforts to overcome them so that they are able to follow their online degree program. Since online education has become commonplace across the globe and top-notch American universities are now offering these courses, there is a high demand for the same and therefore international students are making all the efforts to overcome the barriers and pursue the online courses.