Many parents regard studying in a foreign school, especially in the U.S., as something greatly beneficial for their children’s future. For one thing, being fluent in English presents numerous social and career opportunities, not only in the U.S. but in other English-speaking countries as well. Their children can expand their network globally and represent their home country when they reach amazing milestones in their education and career.
For those reasons, parents try to move abroad while their kids are still young so that they can give them ample time to adjust to the new environment, language, and culture. As a result, when their kids reach high school and college, they’ve already benefited from the prestigious elementary education they acquired from Gilbert, Arizona, or from any other state they resided in.
However, as beneficial and amazing it is to be an international student, it doesn’t come without difficulties. Your grade-schooler will certainly face challenges as they transition to their new school; hence, your support and encouragement are crucial. But how can you help them effectively if, like them, you’re also trying to adjust to your new country?
Common Challenges Faced by Foreign Students in the U.S.
As your kid navigates through their new school life, these are the challenges they will likely come across with:
1. Culture Shock
The American culture is a mix of various cultures from around the world, so your kid may be overwhelmed as they deal with the differences they’ll have with their classmates.
2. New Schoolwork
Completing their schoolwork on time may be difficult for them due to the language barrier. Composition tasks will be especially challenging since they need to read lots of English material first before they can start.
3. Expressing Themselves
When your grade-schooler is not yet fluent in English, they’ll have a hard time expressing themselves in interactive discussions, such as debates. They may resort to only repeating their teachers’ viewpoint just to be able to speak.
4. Making New Friends
Your kid may be too shy to initiate conversations with their American classmates because of the language barrier and cultural differences. Overcoming their shyness is important because Americans would also love to interact and be friends with foreign students.
5. New Food
If your home country’s cuisine has a very distinctive taste, your child may not like the food on their campus at all. Fortunately, colleges typically offer wellness and nutrition counseling to help international students make smart food choices on campus.
How to Help Your Child Overcome the Challenges
Being new immigrants, chances are you’re too stressed by the move that you’re hardly monitoring your child’s situation in their new school. This is why it’s highly important to choose a school with a strong support system for international students. You have to ensure that their teachers will be your advocates in addressing the needs of your grade-schooler.
Make time to visit your kid’s school and its website to familiarize yourself with their campus and programs. Find out if their teachers also have their own website where they post details about their homework assignments. Determine the homework’s expectations, and create an effective study environment for them. Hire a language tutor if you need to, or get help from their school’s writing center (for composition assignments).
Familiarize yourself with the school’s policies as well. Be sure that your kid never has frequent absences, tardiness, and disciplinary sanctions. Be involved with their education as much as you can; help them develop study habits, social skills, and organizational skills. When you’re ready, participate in parent-teacher conferences, too.
Helping your kid adjust to a foreign school is no easy feat, but with your dedication and support, you will overcome the challenges together and reap the benefits of all your hard work in no time.