Do I really need SINCERE?

2019, September

Miss. Xu, an international student, asked us on We Chat:

“Do I really need SINCERE?”

Olivia, the Overseas Living Representative of SINCERE, responded like this:

Hello, Miss. Xu:

First of all, I am very glad that you and your parents have been following and supporting SINCERE all the time, and also very happy to communicate with you. Since SINCERE was founded, we realize that students are most concerned about “whether we need SINCERE”.

As a former international student, I actually empathize with your question, but why do international students need us? Let’s start with the major issues facing international students in the United States .

Academic Barriers

· Language barriers
Language barriers have become the source of frustration and major obstacles to academic achievement for international students. It reduces the student’s ability to interact with the course, communicate with the surrounding classmates, and seek help or enthusiasm of study. Many studies have also confirmed that English language barriers are one of the main barriers for Chinese students studying abroad (Huang, 2006; Kuo, 2011, Yuang, 2011) .

· Class interaction
The difficulties of interaction and communication due to language barriers not only occur in daily life, but also in the classroom, and whether students like group or independent activities.

Among our study, a student who has been studying in the United States for two years said that the American classroom is very different from the Chinese classroom. For example, students can interrupt the professor at any time to ask questions. However, this behavior is very rude and impolite in China. In addition, international students also have obstacles to identification. It is important for international students to be identified by professors and classmates because they spend more time and energy in the classroom.

· Classmates isolated
When international students adopt to life and try to make local friends, they feel isolated. They have encountered varying degrees of isolation in both classroom and social life. These students usually play a passive role in the beginning, and they will eventually find that they need different ways and methods to social activities or classroom discussions.

· Why do you need SINCERE ?
The above contents usually require students to explore and overcome them by themselves. Even with the existence of the Chinese Student Union, it was more helpful about the convenience of life, such as transportation. However, when freshmen facing academic “barriers” as described above, the Chinese Student Union seem to be stretched or even counterproductive. SINCERE is precisely to prevent students to spend too much time and energy to deal with those issues and problems. We have decades of experience in studying, living, and employment in the United States.

Socio-Cultural Barriers

· Ideology
When international students participate in different social activities, they must deal with different communication styles and ideologies. In the United States, the expression of accepting gifts is very different from domestic. In Western culture, it is acceptable to immediately open a gift of appreciation. However, people of Oriental culture are not used to opening gifts in front of others.

· Make an appointment for everything
In China, if we are going to have a haircut, have a meal or have a spa, we just need to have three or five friends go directly to the store. However, this does not work in the United States because you have to make an appointment in advance. When many international students first arrived in the United States, they thought they were the same as domestic ones except for the language. When they arrived at a restaurant, they found that they had no appointment and had to wait for 40 minutes to get a seat. The clinic will not serve you without an appointment.

· Stereotypes of international students
As more international students come to the United States to study, the “stereotype” of Chinese students is becoming obvious. For example: Chinese people like to bring cash; Chinese students are rich at young age; Chinese students like to buy new cars.
When these one-sided subjective “stereotypes” suddenly hit the student, just came here, they often lack the skills to respond reasonably and express their true self.

· Why do you need SINCERE ?
I had encountered the above points when I was an International student. Some of them were handled well, but others were not satisfactory. To be straightforward, I didn’t know the way Americans communicated at that time. They do not like beat around the bush. I gradually learned how to communicate comfortably with Americans – with words straight. It’s that simple!

When dealing with similar issues, SINCERE has always hoped that international students can temporarily abandon the domestic “smooth” philosophy of life, which is “do in Rome as Rome does”. Now that you are in the United States, you can express your true ideas ~

Psychological Barriers

· Psychological health
According to a 2013 research survey, about 29% of Chinese students said they had nervous, while about 45% of students said they had depression. After 11 years of review and investigation, the researchers found that most of the psychological problems of these international students are closely related to the several “barriers” discussed above . However, more serious psychological “barriers” also occur when these international students who already have psychological problems are unwilling to actively seek psychological help, some because it is difficult to express, and some because the university does not provide any Chinese-speaking mental health consultant. This has greatly exacerbated the mental health problems of overseas students.

· Why do you need SINCERE ?
Our team has a group of consultants majoring in psychology. They are deeply aware of the difficulties of international students and the psychological problems they are about to face diverse mental health programs.

I expressed the phenomena and views that have been experienced and observed over the years. Thanks very much for Miss. Xu who has been able to interact with me, and you who have read here ~ You know, the team of SINCERE has always been by your side ~

— Olivia

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