Abstract always a problem with international students.




Recently, the number of overseas students from Vietnam
studying at Australian universities has been rising. Studying abroad is a big
challenge to Vietnamese students. Most international students have difficulties
in adapting to a new environment. Academic skills and social activities are the
two difficulties that students often encounter when studying abroad. According
to Burns (1991), language is the main problem of overseas students. Also, many
studies have researched that international students in academic activity have
no time to relax because of difficulties in reading and writing skills (Burns,
1991). International students face of the new study method in a new country.

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Overseas students have to familiar with the new way of learning of Australian
education. Moreover, social activities also are a problem with Vietnamese
international students. International students feel shy of communicating with
people from a different culture because of different language, region and
lifestyle (Dalglish and Chan, 2005). To improve the problems, staff and
teachers should advise and support overseas students. Furthermore, teachers
should give questions and feedback on the lesson for students.



The education has been committed greatly importance over the
last century. The number of international students has increased in education
from 35,290 in 1994 to 151,796 in 2004 (AICE 2005) and this is not only to
Australia. Higher education is becoming internationalized, that is the number
of international students in school has been increasing. Many countries
including Australia offer education for overseas students. Education in
Australia is the third largest services export (Marginson 2002a). International
students from non-English speaking background start to study in Australia. Overseas
students need language to integrate into the new culture background. This report
will focus on how international students can familiar with a new environment
and give suggestions about how universities can do to help international
students integrate into a different country.




and discussions

Academic problems


Language is always a problem with international students. The
ability of overseas students in the English language is still limited. There
are difficulties for overseas students who are studying English as a second
language. More than 50% of international students realized that their speaking,
hearing, reading and writing skills are on the moderate and poor level (Burns,
1991). Ramsay
et al. (1999) mentioned that “first-year
international students at an Australian university had difficulties
understanding lectures in terms of vocabulary and speed, and with tutors who
spoke too fast or gave too little input”.

 Generally, English in Asian countries is more
focus on grammar than other skills. These four essential skills are necessary
for entry into university. However, many international students have trouble
communicating and independent study. According to Burns (1991), “around
75% of local and 80% of overseas students appear to spend at least 21 hours
each week studying outside scheduled class time”. This
means that international students have spent less time to study as a group of
local students. Beyond class time, overseas students often spend time on
part-time work. That is a reason that makes students feel pressure to decline
assignments and revision tasks on time and have difficulty in improving their
English skills.

New study method

As my experiences, the study methodology of Australia and
Vietnam is a bit different. In Australia, students usually do not focus on
studying theoretical concepts. Instead, Australian students concentrate on
practical experiments and understanding the lessons in class. On the other
hands, in Vietnam, students are more focused on theory rather than practice. As
Reis (1987) argued that between English speakers and students who are learning
English as a second language have slight differences about learning style
preferences. In comparing the method study of the students from Western
countries and Asian countries. Students from Western countries have more work
as groups and discuss with other students and instructors, while students from
Asian countries prefer to work by themselves (Ramburuth and McCormick, 2001). The
different culture between Western countries and Asian countries affect to the
study method of international students, Tang (1996, p.183).

Social activities

Most of the students come from Vietnam are studying abroad
by a motivation of their parents. International students feel embarrassed with
the completely new environment. Vietnamese students are closer and more in
touch with their families than social activities. Therefore, students have difficulties
with less social activities experience with a
new cultural background. Hechanova-Alampay et al. (2002) argued that the
experience of socializing with international students is minimal because they
are closer to family and friends. Overseas students often feel confused in
social interaction and it is difficult to integrate into a new culture. Most of
the students felt lonely and homesick while study abroad that was influenced to
the confidentiality of students with social activities, Rajapaksa and Dundes


conclusion, the majority of students who are studying in Australia aim to
improve their English skill and education. However, many students find it
difficult to get into the new environment. The difference between Western and
Asian culture makes students feel disoriented. International students face many
difficulties with the language, social activities and lifestyle of foreigners. Language
is one of the major issues for non-English speaking students who are studying
abroad. The four main skills to enter university are writing, speaking,
listening and reading, but Vietnamese students often focus on grammar. That is
the reason why international students from Vietnam have difficulty learning the
language. Also, international students are a bit confused with the differences
in Western learning methods. Overseas students have to familiar with trying to
learn and understand in class and practice more instead of memorizing method as
Vietnam. Moreover, most students feel intricate in communicating with social
activities. They are often unconfident with their English ability and afraid to
communicating with strangers. As such, Vietnamese students
are nervous to become familiar with a new environment. There are some
recommendations that universities could do to help international students get



            To improve the problems, universities
can offer solutions to help international students by:

It is necessary to mix students
from a different culture in the classroom.

·     Organizing
many exchange activities for international students to meet and get to know
more friends come from many different countries.

Academic staffs and teachers should:

o   advise
and support international students to help them integrate into a new

o   Provide
feedback on assignments or revision tasks.

o   Encourage doing assignment
in a group  

o   Asking
questions to improve students’
understanding of the lesson

·     Setting up
more English clubs or socialize with local students to help international students
improve their speaking and listening skills.




Andrade, 2006,’
journal of research in international education’,
international students in English-speaking universities, page 135, 136.

Burns, 1991, ‘Higher
Education Research & Development’, Study and Stress among First
Year Overseas Students in an Australian University, page 61-76.

Dalglish and Chan, 2005, ‘Proceedings
Australian International Education Conference’, Expectations
and Reality- International Student Reflections On Studying in Australia.

Cruickshank, Newell and Cole,
2010, ‘Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education’,
Meeting English Language Needs in Teacher Education: a flexible support model
for non-English speaking background students, vol.31, no.3, page 240-246.

Ramburuth and McCormick, 2001, Learning
diversity in higher education: A comparative study of Asian international and
Australian students, page 336-338



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