Thesis: How International Students in UK cope with Cultural Shock

Sample Thesis Paper

1.0       Introduction

It has become a normal phenomenon that foreign students will always experience cultural shock to some extent. This always happens towards the start of their stay in the new country (Kim 1988; Gudykunst 1998; Hofstede 2001). It is noted that cultural shock is intense on arrival in the new country and it disappears with time depending on the students adjustments (Lysgaard 1955; the W-Curve model by Gullahorn and Gullahorn 1963). Therefore, foreign students would undergo prominent stress in the initial stage; the stress would then diminish as the student adjusts to academic rules and once the student has developed a sufficient linguistic competence to meet the demands of the course.

Academic difficulties may arise due to failure to understand or communicate at a cultural level something which may not have been anticipated. Academic excellence is contingent on the assimilation of the norms of the academic culture (Blue 1993). This makes the culture of the academic world very important for the international student than the host country student (Sharples 1995).

A number of studies that have been conducted leads to a general concurrence that there is a relationship between cultural shock and the quality of life, however, available literature is silent on the extent to which cultural shock affects the quality of life. This paper therefore seeks to discuss the short and long term effects of cultural shock among international students in the UK and the extent to which it impacts on their quality of life and academic excellence.

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