Leaving their home country for long periods of time, international students, undergraduates, and graduates have huge adjustments to make while pursuing their academic goals in the United States. Upon securing a job within these shores requires another phase of adaptation for international professionals.
A few challenges are:
- Some international professionals are reluctant to criticizing ideas held by those with more significant experience and/or in authority; even when asked to voice their opinions.
- The transition from student life to work life or to the corporate world isn’t easy for anyone. Those whose culture, native language, and life experiences are different than the majority of salaried employees, have particular unique situations. This requires the Human Resources department to place extra effort in making the transition smooth; managers and supervisors should be considered as having the same responsibility.
- Balancing career and leisurely activities is another challenge. It is closely related to point number 2, above. Having friendships, family support, and being involved in professional associations will help in easing the balancing act.
From the perspective of Tao Wang, a University of Florida law student specializing in tax law:
"The teaching method used in US law schools is more interactive compared to that of China.
Professors call on students to answer the question and state your own analysis and legal
arguments that support your position. This sometimes intimidates many international students,
who might be afraid to speak up in class."
Tao, from Shanghai, China, offers suggestions to international students: "“Make sufficient preparation before the class to understand and get familiar with the topics of the upcoming class and go over again after the classes. The discussion is really a good way to get involved in the class and connected with classmates and professors, so be confident and not be shy!" Tao continued.
Tao Wang worked in Shanghai as a senior advisor in PwC Shanghai. He advised enterprises around the world to make investments in China. Also, he counseled Chinese companies on investing in other jurisdictions, including the United States.
Tao’s admonishments are timely and address the adjustment concerns of Chuyun Sun, a senior at Ohio State University. She hails from Xiamen, Fujian province, China. Her most significant challenge in life and study in the U.S. are the "English language, which affects me academically (writing papers with good English) and socio-culturally; integrating with native American students and understanding different ways of thinking and doing." By all accounts, Chuyun’s grapple with acclimating to the U.S. environment is indicative throughout the country.
From the standpoint of a financial professional, Dwight Hulse, founder and CEO of D.L. Hulse Consulting states "In terms of an international person from Belize leading a growing CFO Advisory Services company in Gainesville, one thing that comes to mind as something here to get accustomed to is the significance of the personal relationship prior to doing business with someone. Back home and in Central America, business is done among close friends, or if that person is not known to you, they are introduced to you based on reputation."
Hulse continues: "Meanwhile, here in the U.S., business owners put a lot more trust in those written agreements and less importance to the prior personal relationship. However, I still trust my sixth sense and do my due diligence to be comfortable prior to engaging."
Regardless the obstacles, studying and living in a foreign country offers international students and professionals numerous opportunities to learn, grow, and practice their chosen occupation.
Michael W. Robinson, Professional Speechwriter.