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elaboration upon my experience as an international student of University of Birmingham. At the time I compose this reflection, I have finished my first year as a Business Management student. My reflection will center with the difficulties encountered in a foreign country, language, and culture. The reader will gain insight as to my personal experience my first year. The reader will understand some of my greatest challenges, personal flaws, and sense of accomplish from completing one full year. By the reflections conclusion, readers will understand how obstacles and weakness transformed in to achievement and deep motivation.
At the beginning of the first semester, my most prominent obstacle was my deficiency in the English language. I could not effectively communicate with other people in a professional or informal context. This was not something I was prepared for. I knew it would be a challenge, but more than just the language made me frustrated; I was frustrated because the language barrier kept from living my life fully. It was getting in the way of me having a greater variety of experiences in a country that was new to me. It was something that I had to learn to deal with and it served as a motivation to apply myself to learn English with more intensity.
Another problem besides my lack of skills in English was obstacles in socialization and adapting to the new college culture. I notice that it is typical for first year students to cohabitate together in dormitories on the university's campus. This helps facilitate a great deal of early socialization among the students. In class time, we do not have many opportunities for informal socialization because it is class time and that is not how it should be spent. Undergraduates have so much free time at their command, even if they study a lot and do all of their assignments on time. It is during this free time when all kinds of crucial socialization and social bonds forming. The students' proximity to each is an important factor that helps people mingle, network, find study partners, and make friends. I was at a disadvantage and all of the first year students live in university campus. I reside off-campus in the town centre, so I missed out on a lot of opportunities to socialize during free time.
Even though I could not speak very much, it would have been helpful and cool to just hang out with some other students to watch how they interact and see what kinds of activities students in this culture do together. It would have also improved my English to listen to the students speak and use vocabulary words or slang. It is true I could have made more of an effort to meet new people, but my frustration with my inability to communicate got in the way. Thus, it was too difficult to communicate with them. Finding friends and acquiring more English were my greatest problems, but my life is much different these days.
When it comes issues of an academic nature, during the first semester I passed my Marketing and Economics for Business examinations. I received the feedback from both of those examinations. The greatest criticism I received was that I spent an inadequate amount of time completing short answer questions. I completed the "Understanding Organisations" group assignment and my group got 65 of 100. The title of essay was: "The aim of the coursework is to develop your understanding and application of the theory, concepts and models that are introduced on the "Understanding Organisations" module. The essay was to consist of a minimum of 5,000 words. This was a large group assignment that my group was not fully prepared for. I gave a strong effort, though I am not sure I tried my best because at this point, my English skills still interfered with my life to a greater degree.
As I transitioned into my second semester of coursework, my English noticeably improved. I discovered many friends who have played significant roles in my life, including how I approach studying. During semester 2, I had yet another group assignment for Managing Organisations; the grade of this group assignment was to consist of 30% of my grade for the course overall. The task was: "Your team will take on the role of management consultants to Innocent Drinks, a well-known company that specialises in the marketing and distribution of healthy drinks and other consumable products."?
In the final exams, I could not pass English Law and Business History exams because of many problems with English I continue to have presently. My education is an interesting struggle between learning the language, learning the culture, and effectively completing my coursework.
There were many cultural aspects that I had to transition into as well. It took some time for me to get accustomed to the food. I have heard and read online about something that happens to first year students where they gain weight because of drinking, eating, and less activity because of hanging out with friends. It was also a challenge understanding the differences between cultures when it comes to dating and relationships. Other aspects of the culture that I found new were the music, such as on the radio, as well as the television & cinema content.
Besides learning the formal and proper language, I had to also tackle the challenge of learning slang and euphemisms of the language. Students use a great deal of informal language to communicate with each other. This is another way that I had to learn, but as other people got to know me, they would help me to understand. Sometimes being an international students is an advantage because I find that there are occasions when people are nicer to the foreign person than they would be to the person native to the country, language, or culture. I actually had some fun experiences learning about different informal words and phrases. This is one way I came to make friends. They would invite to chat somewhere on campus or off, to help me learn and adjust to live in a new country. When people showed me their kindness and help, it made me feel more relieved and less alone or stressed. Even though I attend a university with many students, it is possible to feel alone and like an outsider, especially when I did not have many friends at first, and my problems with English seemed insurmountable.
One of the biggest aspects about being a foreign student is the state of contrast and interpretation -- everything that happens makes me wonder how would the same circumstance would have played out in my country and my culture. The education experience is not just in the classroom. Education happens all the time. This is one of the great lessons I have learned over the course of my first year. Learning this lesson is a strength because it helps me put my life in perspective and helps me stay grounded. Through the various challenges I have faced during my first year, I have gained skills to cope with what throws my way. I am more focused and have a much clearer idea of my goals at university and my professional life. I still need to improve vastly in English, but instead of it frustrating me or blocking me, my lack of English, a weakness, is not a strength, a goal that I know I will reach.
A strength I have gained is a solidification in my independence in a new place. Challenges are not just the languages; many challenges come in the doing of simple tasks like finding and taking the right public transportation to get to school on time. It is successfully doing the laundry. The education is the differences in body…[continue]
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