Exams And Language Barriers

Dear readership, as the Fall 2017 semester reaches its ending, I am now publishing my Asian-studies related term papers here.

With Thanksgiving Break over, stomachs packed to capacity, and spiritual rejuvenation, the final-stretch of the semester has begun!  With multiple exams, research papers, and final projects on the horizon, students generally experience some elevated stress.  Though I’ve been super busy, I’ve kept reflecting on the omnipresent language barriers (again) faced by my exchange-student friends.  In particular, I worry a bit for the Freshman: 18 year old students readying for their first college exam cycle whilst juggling a foreign language.

Some basic considerations…

Although these students passed an English proficiency test to obtain their Student Visa to attend American universities, passing these standardized tests does not necessarily equate with fluency.  Just like the SAT or ACT, these tests have patterns and nuances which a test-taker can examine and study accordingly.  Who can blame them? If a foreigner intends on receiving an American education, why would they not approach a standardized test this way? As with all standardized tests, strategy is the name of the game. Unfortunately, this methodological approach does not guarantee ‘A’s.

Due to the Model Minority Stereotype, few truly consider that Chinese exchange-students face the same challenges as any American young adult. No nationality or ethnicity escapes naturally struggles like social adjustment, feuding with roommates, and procrastinating.  Thankfully, Fairfield University recognizes the importance of mental health and offers services to aid with adjustment, a process difficult enough in one’s native language.

Hopefully, the university’s faculty and leaders will sympathize with the exchange-students in particular.a

Whether they receive a semester or four years’ worth of American education, these students are still tuition-paying members of the community.  Accordingly, they deserve equal representation in the university’s development of on-campus resources.  In writing this, I appreciate that the commendable resources offered by the university dedicated to promoting students’ mental health.  Rather, I just pose the question:  How can our preexisting on-campus services specialize in exchange-students‘ well-being?

Please note: the school benefits when hundreds of exchange students–from all corners of the globe–rave to their families about the quality of Fairfield University.

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