By Matheus Marinho
According to the U.S. News website, the United States of America enrolled a record-breaking number of international students during the 2013-2014 school year, welcoming 886,052 undergraduate and graduate students to colleges and universities throughout the country, and students from overseas now make up about 4 percent of all university students in the U.S.
Missouri Valley College is already known for its dense population of international students, having people from all over the world on campus. Among these students, some stand out for their personal accomplishments, such as being tutors, helping in specific fields, like math, science and English.
However, they are sometimes subjected to face challenges, like not having English as their first language, which can be a factor that might make their job a little harder.
Ivailo Enev is from Bulgaria, and tutor math. For Enev, the language barrier is definitely the hardest thing he had to deal with when teaching others, especially if the person being helped is also international and does not speak fluent English.
“Teaching math is not something difficult for me. However, sometimes there is the language barrier between me and the students”, he said. “Knowing the terminology in my native language sometimes doesn’t help me, because it differs when it’s in English.”
Enev stood out in his math classes, so he was asked if that was a possibility for him to become a tutor and start helping others with this subject, which can be a nightmare for multiple people.
“I impressed my College Algebra teacher with skills. My math knowledge was on a higher level, then I explained to her my financial problems and my desire to be a tutor. She was grateful enough to give me a recommendation and that’s how it all went.”
Gustavo Kozma is Brazilian, and he helps students with English. Kozma mainly helps with papers and writing assignments. Even though it might seem challenging, he confident of his work.
“I feel comfortable teaching Americans about writing techniques, as I usually help them with changing the way they approach a paper, rather than teaching them about their own language,” Kozma said. “While tutoring, most of the time is spent helping the students follow the assignment and demonstrating them what the appropriate format for college essays is. Therefore, helping American students is not too different from helping foreign students.”
Aside of all the possible obstacles he might face, Kozma always reminds himself of the greater things this job brings him.
“I love the reward feeling of helping students to complete an assignment that might have been causing them a lot of stress. One of the best feelings is to see a student who seemed stressed at the beginning of a tutoring section to leave it feeling pleased and satisfied with their progress.”
The U.S. News website also stated that “the overall number of international students in the U.S. has grown 72 percent since 2000” and that “students from China, India and South Korea now represent about half of all international students in the U.S.”
Even though this experience can be incredibly rewarding and unique, there are still some things that the international students would like appreciate if changed. Each school suffers with different issues regarding international students, and Missouri Valley is no different.
Endurance Toro is a Biology tutor, and she is originally from Zimbabwe. Toro notices some things that she wishes the school had a different approach towards.
“Being a private school, MVC could strive to create equality among students. International students might not qualify for certain grants, due to several governmental factors”, she said. “However, opportunities such as jobs and internships should be equally open for every student regardless of where they might be from.”
Toro also added that “most international students who make it to the USA are hard working and academically inclined, and they contribute to the academic improvement of the school, and that is something worth recognizing.”
As a matter of fact, international students all over America try to take the best out of the experience of studying abroad and getting a degree in another country. They strive to be the best they can be, putting hard work in everything they are assigned.
International students, besides the many qualifications they have, are a benefit for the institution due to the diversity the provide. With different lifestyles and perceptions of the world, it is an opportunity for students to engage with people who are different, creating a better campus atmosphere for the entire student population.