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Anthropology 23: Debating MulticulturalismProfessor Alexander StewartRisks and Rewards of Studying Internationally in the United StatesIs it beneficial for international students to attend college in the United States, or do the limits imposed by social barriers, language and cultural barriers, racial prejudice, and lack of nearby friends and family for support impede international students experience too much to be valuable? And in what ways do the universities international students attend and their fellow colleagues impact the foreign study experience. In this essay I will investigate this question using sources such as my suitemate Nathaniel Lam, an international student from Singapore, and articles and other resources I have found while researching this topic to answer the question at hand. In my short time at UCSD I have learned there is a large percent of international students attending this university (about 2,400 students or about 8.5% of the total population of UCSD as of 2009, data from UCSD International Center 2008-9 Annual Report); I became curious about the challenges of being an international student due to the number of students I have encounteredso far coupled with my desire to study abroad during my time at UCSD and. My curiosity led to the question I am asking and answering in this paper. The stress an average college student undergoes must be amplified in students not studying in their home country. These students encounter many more obstacles than an average student would have to overcome. However, there are also strong benefits to studying in America (i.e. business connections, appreciation of new cultures, and increase in diversity of the United States) which could make the whole processworth the effort.One of the most inherent obstacles with being an international student faces is severing the immediate physical ties with valuable support groups such as friends and family. Commutinghome for a weekend is simply not feasible for international students; consider Nate for example, he lives in Singapore, for him to travel back home it would take a costly “20 hour flight, not
including delays” to get back (Lam). As for myself I can drive 35 minutes north on the freeway and have a home-cooked meal and sleep in my own bed whenever I need the support. Due to the fact that good mental health is imperative to a successful schooling experience (Kitzrow 171) international students are automatically somewhat disadvantaged. Their families are too far awayto help these students when they truly need it, and furthermore the families back home are physically detached from the student’s daily life is in so their experience and help is quite useless(Mori 138). Losing this support group could insight feelings of isolation and cause stress that impacts the students’ mental health negatively. An interesting point Nate mentioned in our interview was how the distance can make it impossible to attend important family events: “You