Reflections for ENGL 108
Dr. Nicholas Barlow
“Perceived discrimination”, is a descriptive study of the perceived discrimination and homesickness, between international students and the United States students. The purpose of the text is to illustrate challenges that international students experience such as perceived discrimination in terms of ethnicity or race including homesickness and cultural shock as well as how these challenges affect the student’s psychological well-being. It targets higher education personnel, college students (both international and non-international) including mental health advisers and faculty. This is to help develop various intervention programs or steps, which can be used in universities or colleges, to reduce perceptions of discrimination and homesickness. In fact, according to the authors, reducing discrimination perceptions on universities should be one of the first goals, especially since discrimination perceive has a direct relation to homesickness as well as with students’ psychological well-being.
In the study, the authors examined the differences between the perceived discrimination and homesickness in various college students (Both the international and United States students) from two campuses of the same college. According to the study, after examining other related factors such as age, proficiency in English, and years of United States Residents among the international students, the results showed that the international student’s experiences as well as encounter higher levels of homesickness and perceived discrimination compared to the American student. Several factors played a major role in the predicated homesickness among the international students, which include, English proficiency, perceived discrimination, and age. In addition, ethnicity or race and the years of residence predicted the level of the perceived discrimination.
To prove this study, the authors developed four hypothesis questions, based on the perceived discrimination, homesickness, and cultural shock, and conducted research using different college students on two different campuses but from one university. Even though the research had several limitations, the results have helped in answering the formulated hypotheses. Well, according to the results, international students (especially non-Europeans) reported a higher level of perceived discrimination, which resulted in homesickness due to language and cultural differences and challenges in adjusting to their new environment. As the result, this can affect their mental health for example leading to lower self-esteem. In addition, the results indicated that among the international students, experienced or perceived discrimination increases with the time they spend in college increases.
The finding in this study has significant implications for the higher education institutions or personnel and also advisers, mental well-being counselors, and the faculty. This is because, the authors highlight the significance of the intervention program designs, campus support groups, and other social groups, which are developed to assist international students to get along with as well as overcome challenges related to discrimination and homesickness. According to (Poyrazil, S., & Lopez, D., 2007), “Through brochures, pamphlets, Web sites, and orientation programs, these students could be informed about what they may experience in the new culture and what psychological reactions they may have.” This helps them in transitioning more easily into the school environment as well as offers them a place to ask or discuss their experiences in their new environment. It also highlights multicultural training’s importance. This will help reduce or end discrimination between the two groups, the internal students, and American students.
The author suggests that the intervention programs developed to help reduce these challenges should mainly target non-European internal students because they are highly affected. Well, I disagree with this, because even though these programs will help international students learn how to recognize as well as cope with any discrimination, targeting American students will help in facilitating a positive intergroup interaction thus reducing discrimination and prejudice. This will help the international student cope well with their new, welcoming environment. In fact, according to the research study on international students, when both domestic and international students participate in an intervention together, it improves international student’s perception of their sense of belonging, social support as well as overall satisfaction, especially students, who are less open when beginning their freshman year.
Even though the article suggests developing steps or several interventions to reduce perceived discrimination, the disparity in friendship connection would be also great especially since it is more pronounced. Most programs and interventions suggested in the article are great but including fostering integration can assist in mitigating the international students’ problems of adjustment, reduce perceived discrimination thus improving their emotional or psychological well-being, and in turn, making them more comfortable.
In conclusion, this is a significant study article, which illustrates the problems that the international students experience such as perceived compared to the American students. From the results, developing intervention programs to help the international students adjust to their new environment is important and can benefit the higher education institutions and students in general.
Poyrazil, S., & Lopez, D., (2017). An Exploratory Study of Perceived Discrimination and Homesickness: A Comparison of International Students and American Students. The Journal of Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3200/JRLP.141.3.263-280