ERIC Number: EJ847741
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Uncovering Problems and Identifying Coping Strategies of Middle Eastern University Students
Alazzi, Khaled; Chiodo, John J.
International Education, v35 n2 p65-81 Spr 2006
For international college students, the failure to achieve their educational goals regarding their program of study creates a large amount of stress. These international students experience pressure to succeed from their families, sponsoring agencies, or even the communities from their home country. For Middle Eastern students who come to study at American universities, this type of stress is very common. The authors examine this issue so more could be learned regarding this problem. They try to uncover what problems Middle Eastern university students faced in pursuing their education and the coping strategies they used while striving to achieve their educational goals. These problems may include academic, personality, socio-economic, and language problems the students experience and how the students define their situations and the strategies they develop to cope with their problems. In-depth interviews were conducted with eight Middle Eastern graduate students from the country of Jordan, who were enrolled at a major southwestern university. An interview questionnaire was constructed, consisting of 13 questions based on demographic information, the type of problems the students encounter, definition of the situation, and the type of problem-solving strategies used. In summary, the lives of these Jordanian graduate students at the university are filled with stress and anxiety, which resulted from returning to school after working for several years, leaving behind family responsibilities, the fear of not knowing whether one can still academically match up, and the loss of all that is familiar (language, culture, friends, food) because of moving from the home country. Things that these students took for granted suddenly required an effort to do. A feeling of inadequacy and a loss of self-confidence occurs, which could negatively affect the academic achievement of the student. As a result, although influenced by American lifestyle and new cultures, the Jordanian graduate students in this study always see themselves as guests in the United States, and they want to return to the Middle East as soon as possible. For this reason, they usually do not want to adapt to the new country's lifestyle, and they also do not internalize the beliefs, attitudes, and traditions of the host country. Therefore, they keep their own identity, own culture, and own beliefs. This causes them to have problems with personal relationships between the people they encounter within the university and in the community. Moreover, language and communication problems are fundamental factors that make the situation even more difficult.
Descriptors: Foreign Students, Graduate Students, Universities, Academic Achievement, Coping, Foreign Countries, Stress Variables, Anxiety, Interviews, Questionnaires, Problem Solving, Self Esteem, Interpersonal Relationship, Qualitative Research
College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 420 Claxton Complex, 1126 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37996. Tel: 865-974-9505; Web site: http://cehhs.utk.edu/publications/default.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Jordan