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We Have To Address How We Treat International Students

As an international student myself, I share many struggles and obstacles with the 6990 other International students of just being a student at Cardiff University. And to be quite frank, the University system should support us more because the current support is not enough.

From speaking to many international students across all background, they all tell they face the following obstacles:

1) No support in overcoming the language barrier: English is obviously not our first language. For many of us, including myself, only learnt English through an intense course before starting our degree. However, coming and studying at a UK University is still a daunting experience. It has impacts on our self-confidence, our sense of belonging and our ability to really part of University life.

Fundamentally, the problems start at the intake stage. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificate that the University accepts is not fit to its stated purpose and lacks integrity. Having been through the course myself, it is based on luck to what difficulty your assessment is at, creating an instant unequal playing field for International Students.

2) Students’ Union Volunteering system is complicated for International Students: Currently Students require proof that they have no criminal record before they start volunteering. The problem when it comes to international students is that it can take an extremely long time to actually get such documentation from their home countries due to the fact sometimes their availability in the country is required in order to get such paper. This hinders their participation in volunteering in the community projects that our Union provides. As consequences, International students have no choice but to give up and they are left outside, looking in.

3) No specific skills development for international students: It is an accepted norm in British Universities that University life is not just about getting a degree, but it is also an opportunity to find multiple ways to grow and develop as a human being. Many the reason why international students come to Cardiff University is learn life more than anything else. We have CPD, Continuing Professional Development Program, a specific skills development program for students, but we have not developed an equivalent for international students yet.

These 3 issues obviously compound on one another and make each one’s impact much worse.

It has a massive impact on our educational experience too. It is a little know fact that international students tend to perform much more poorly than our British counterparts. In fact, majority of international students at Cardiff University across ALL schools, do not graduate with a first or higher-second class. They either pass or drop out of their course. This attainment gap must be addressed.

We do pay the University A LOT,however, we don’t see much support or services provided for us. This MUST be resolved and we MUST see improvements in this area.

It is time international students get the support, respect and be valued as they should be.


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Twitter: @AlDhahouri_FA