International Study: Pros & Cons

Xiaoxia Yin

Nearly 40 international students are members of Washington & Lee’s class of 2019. As the old saying goes, every coin has two sides. There are both pros and cons to being an international student. I would like to share my own experiences to illustrate these pros and cons.

On the positive side, international students were able to come to school one week before the pre-orientation trips to attend the international orientation. The program was perfectly designed to help international students become familiar with the campus, learn more about the culture of Lexington and shop for things they needed before classes started.

During this program, international students acquire important knowledge about the school, such as information about courses, traditions and the honor code. As a result, they know more about W&L. Furthermore, the program helps international students to make friends before pre-orientation, which can help them to adapt to their new school more easily .

Moreover, international students are exposed to different kinds of education. Study abroad programs for American students are popular at W&L and universities across the country. Large numbers of students decide to study abroad because they want to experience a different type of education and learn about an exotic country.

International students, who “study abroad” in the United States, hold the same opinions as those American students. Most international students have not taken classes in the United States. Studying abroad allows them to obtain knowledge more comprehensively and have experiences that they would not have if they stayed in their own country.

Nevertheless, nobody can deny that language is a serious disadvantage for international students. Most international students’ native languages are not English. Though some students finished their high school courses in English in the United States, most used to only take classes in their native languages at home.

International students’ reading speeds may be slower than American students’, forcing them to spend more time and energy on assignments than American students. International students may have to go to the Writing Center more frequently than other students. As a result, they can overcome language and cultural differences, and catch up with American students.

All of the international students come to the United States by choice. Therefore, they probably know these benefits and drawbacks beforehand. I believe that with time, international students can successfully adapt to the wonderful family at Washington and Lee.