During the past 20 years, the whole world has grown connectivity in different areas, including commerce and trade, information technology, research and development and education. At the same time, partly due to these changes, the number of international students admitted at Canadian institutions of higher education has increased to a large extent. According to the statistics given by the CBIE (Canadian Bureau of International Education) the number of international students, including the Chinese, has surpassed a hundred thousand. In giving statistics in support of these facts, Andrade and Evans (2009) discussed that the incoming international students and their guardians or parents contribute up to about USD 14.5 billion every year, towards supporting their living expenses during their stay. One benefit drawn from the inflow of Chinese learners into Canada, which cannot be overlooked, is the fact that they increase cultural diversity at the learning facility and in the classes, which adds value to education and enriches the academic environment (Olivia and Lee, 2006).
Yoon and Portman (2004) noted that, despite the wide variety of facts on the advantages that they bring into Canada, Chinese students, like other international learners may face strains during their adjustment within the social fabric and the host environment. These strains emanate from language constraints, cultural differences and social behaviors. Despite the fact that a lot of information is available on the adjustment crisis facing this group, Olivia and Lee (2006) note that there is a need to integrate the statistics and the findings. For this reason, this literature review will explore the adjustment issues of these students, exposing the costs and the benefits of international learning at Canada; lastly, future inferences will be developed to demonstrate the outcomes of international learning.
According to Al-Sharideh and Goe (1998), process of adjustment can be regarded as a set of transformational events that are exposed; learners become more aware of handling them – particularly within the learning environment. From the context of this discussion, it is used to imply the particular problems faced by Chinese students at the academic surroundings. Unlike social cultural adjustment, which refers to the ability of the learners to fit into the Canadian culture, psychological adjustment will cover emotional well-being also.
Andrade and Evans (2009, p. 2) discuss that the Chinese learners at Canadian schools and campuses do not face problems that are unique to them; they also experience the problems experienced by Canadian students. However, Ward et al. (2008, p. 35) noted that, in addition to the problems experienced by their Canadian counterparts, they will also suffer from unique problems that could be traced to cultural differences, potential prejudices and language difficulties among others. For that reason, exploring the adjustment needs of Chinese students in Canada and the world at large can increase the information to facilitate student decision making and can improve the acculturation of the different students groups.
Berry (1980) notes that, starting from the 1980s; research studies were commonly focused around the acculturation of international students and acculturative-related stresses, where focus was direction was directed towards the coping approaches adopted by international learners. The studies also entailed reviewing the experiences in adjusting to the different society, from a social point of view (Ward et al., 2008, p. 146). The change shows that there has been a change from viewing Chinese among other international student groups from a clinical to a development-related outlook. For these different reasons, irrespective of the expanding knowledge in the area, the need to synthesize and merge the inferences, as a way of further illuminating the available knowledge is necessary.
Kwon, Y. (2009) and Swagler and Ellis (2003) note that there are six main areas of findings, related to the adjustment of Chinese, like other international learners at Canadian universities and other learning institutions. One of the main costs of learning in Canada includes the lack of English language proficiency, where higher levels of English proficiency contributed to a reduction in the acculturative stress levels of students (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007). Swagler and Ellis (2003) similar to Poyrazli, Kavanaugh, Baker and Al-Timini (2004) discussed that students equipped with better English proficiency suffering from lower levels of acculturative stress, when compared to their counterparts. Additionally, Poyrazli and Kavanaugh (2006), through their study, showed that English language proficiency, went as far as affecting the academic adjustment of Chinese students. In a more recent support of the studies done before, Sümer (2009) discussed that international learners, including the Chinese with lower levels of English language proficiency were more likely to fall into anxiety and depression; attendees of English as a second language were more vulnerable to feelings of isolation during speaking classes (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007).
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