International student success is going to be more important than ever next semester

Brave, courageous and selfless are just some innate characteristics of international students who have to leave their friends, family and home countries in pursuit of their educational dreams. It’s a sacrifice and struggle I don’t know that I could handle.

This semester has presented  incredibly unique challenges, in the wake of the coronavirus  pandemic. The mixed emotions and uncertainty that any international student is experiencing right now must be overwhelming. 

For new international students at Long Beach State, they won’t be able to walk around campus, join clubs in-person or go to sports games. Even though they can no longer have the same experience they may have once had, they are still paying over $15,000 in tuition per semester.

As of 2016, data from SelfScore, a company that provides financial services to international students, foreign students pay up to three times more than in-state students at public universities, subsidizing tuition costs for domestic students.

According to Jeet Joshee, dean of the College of Professional and International Education, when virtual instruction began in spring 2019, about 10% of international students went back to their home country.

The sets of challenges international students face while studying from their homes is completely different than those that students at home in the states are currently facing. 

Students who are overseas face challenges with technology, Joshee said. Technology support, like loaner laptops and hotspots, are only accessible for in-person pickup, something obviously not accessible for a student outside of the country. 

When the fall semester first began, I was caught off guard by how difficult it was to stay focused in a virtual class. So when international students residing in their home countries were advised by counselors to be mindful of enrolling in synchronous classes due to time differences, you can imagine the juggling they had to do to balance their schedules

A class taking place in the afternoon for a local student could be taking place in the early morning in a different country. The time difference makes it nearly impossible for an international student to fully experience the potential of their class.

Delivery for instruction is handled by professors but students can only request so many adjustments to accommodate their needs in order to succeed. Students who are studying from their home countries need to be given even more of a chance to succeed in a synchronous course. 

Joshee predicts that next semester there will be even less international students at CSULB than this semester. That means that there is going to be an invaluable source of diversity and culture missing from your class. 

Different points of view from different international students are incredibly important for students’ and professors’ variety of perspectives . It is in the best interest of CSULB to adjust now rather than wait for the campus to open again, otherwise international students will be left behind.

All students need to feel supported, especially while we all work from home. Not providing that support for everyone could jeopardize the success of the student body.

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