International students face acute change of culture

Paul Schubert

News Reporter

Culture shock and finances are not the only concerns for international students at Humber College, according to a student adviser.

Laurie Bradford, who has worked as a student adviser for the international students since 2004, said adjustment problems are not limited to domestic students.

“Every new college student has their own struggles,” Bradford said. “International students have to deal with a change of culture, a change of lifestyle and in food.”

Matthew Keefe, another international student adviser at Humber College, agrees, saying a change of culture can put more pressure on students from other countries.

“When they first arrive” they must get accustomed to school in a different country, Keefe said. And then they face “dealing with the ins and outs (of things) they don’t have here, like family and financial matters.”

Hospitality student Joyce Chiu, an exchange student from Taiwan, said she enjoys life in another country, but speaking English properly is still a barrier for her.

“It’s a very different language for us,”  said Chiu. “We have some very different lifestyles and communications.”

She said she had the opportunity to come to Humber when some faculty visited the culinary institution in Taiwan where she was studying.

Chiu, who returns to Taiwan later this year, said she also chose Humber due to the quality of the professors. The professors do a good job taking care of the international students, she said.

Chiu, who chose hospitality because she likes to help people, said teachers don’t scold students as easily as they do in Taiwan.

Accounting student Jitendra Singh, an international student from India in the advanced diploma program at Humber, said language barriers and adjusting socially are a bit of a problem.

“Sometimes, it is difficult for us to mingle with people,” Singh said.

“We come from a totally different atmosphere,” he said. “So, we have a very different cultural understanding about things.”

Singh said Humber is a great post-secondary institution for international students like himself because the professors would help the students in their learning.

Still, the proficiency of the English language used by the professors make it more of a challenge for students like Singh.

“Sometimes, the language that the professors use make it difficult for us to understand,” he said.

Both Chiu and Singh each agree Humber gives them better opportunities to further their education abroad.

While each are on separate career paths for different reasons, they agree Humber gives them the experience they need to do their jobs well.

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