International Students' Perceptions of Services and Supports Provided: A Case Study of a Mid-Sized University in the USA

International Students' Perceptions of Services and Supports Provided: A Case Study of a Mid-Sized University in the USA

Henry Wai Leong Ho (Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJTEM.2017010101


In a study of international students' perceptions of services and supports offered by the mid-sized institution in which they are currently enrolled, consisting of 103 international students onshore in the USA, it was found that the majority of the respondents were fully aware of the International Student Orientation (ISO) that is made available to them via the Office of International Education (OIE). However, only close to 70% of the respondents had attended the orientation, even though the university claimed that attending the International Student Orientation is mandatory for all new international students. Respondents also claimed that services such as Immigration Support and Advising; International Student Organization; Cultural Events; Blackboard Communication; and Shuttle Service are all very helpful. However, some respondents wished to see more useful and relevant services that could be offered by the university such as job guidance, as well as assisting international students in their internship application.
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Literature Review

Internationalization of Higher Education

Internationalization has been a common and important goal for many higher education institutions around the world for more than a decade. According to Knight (2008), university internationalization can be explained as “the process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of higher education” (p. 8). This definition is commonly used and accepted by many researchers within the higher education sector. In a similar vein, Childress (2009) proposed that university internationalization is the “process of integrating an international or intercultural dimension into the teaching, research, and service functions of a higher education institution” (p. 289).

As pointed out by Parsons (2010), many universities have chosen to invest large amounts of money and resources into internationalizing their institutions. Senior university administrators often see many benefits to internationalizing, whether because it prepares their graduates to practice in a global context (Bennett & Kane, 2011) or because it allows the university to gain lucrative profits from the international students’ premium tuition fees (Ayoubi & Massoud, 2007; Jordan, 2015). Another benefit of internationalizing is that foreign students can infuse diversity into a student population and add new perspectives to classroom conversations, creating an international learning experience for every student who studies on campus (Gopal, 2011; Lee & Rice, 2007; Knight, 2008; Otten, 2003; Yang, 2014).

According to Cort, Das, and Synn (2004), however, there is no single strategy that can be used as a consistent template to internationalize a higher education institution. However, many researchers have argued that there are several effective ways to achieve university internationalization. These include:

  • Increasing the participation in study abroad programs (Crose, 2011; Parson, 2010);

  • Enrolling more international students (Ayoubi & Massoud, 2007; Crose, 2011; Knight, 2008; Yang, 2014);

  • Internationalizing the curriculum (Bennett & Kane, 2011; Cort et al., 2004; Crose, 2011; Knight, 1999, Parson, 2010; Yang, 2014); and

  • Preparing faculty members to teach students from diverse backgrounds (Cort et al., 2004; Gopal, 2011).

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