Case Study: The Language And Communication Barrier
Four themes were identified from the current study 1) the language and communication barrier; 2) Time restriction; 3) Addressing social isolation; and 4) adapt with social support.
The Language and Communication Barrier
All the participants mentioned inadequate language skills impede their communication with the Americans and their participation in all activities that require communication with English. When they’re talking about poor English, they refer to their speaking and listening English skills. Most of them have no problem in reading and writing.
Mary, a PhD exchange student commented on the most difficult thing of living in the US “Maybe the difficult thing is Language. If I read some English material, it is ok. But listening …show more content…
Amber admitted that “American is very nice but my English is not good, so I am shy to communication with America. I make too much trouble to make them understand.
Nate felt that he will have trouble to communicate with people until his English improves “You know where I work in the lab, I cannot communication with the Americans until my English improves.”
Improving English is one of the goals for many participants. David said “I must improve English.” However, some of these participants are working in a lab that English is not the communication language and therefore have no chance to practice English in a daily base. Todd told us: “I work in a lab that all lab members are speaking Chinese and have not much chance to practice English.” John also had the same problem “I interact with all Chinese people here in the lab and have few chances to talk with people from other …show more content…
Social isolation is that people feel out of the place at a new environment. This feeling was much stronger at the beginning of their staying. Although language barrier played a critical role in social isolation for those who came to the States within a year, cultural barrier is equally significant. The following are examples of the many ways that our participants described their sense of social isolation: away from home alone, feeling lonely and disappointed, uncomfortable and afraid.
Amber said “I’ve come from that side to this side alone.” For her, missing her parents is “the hardest part.”
For the first half year of her life in the US, Mary felt disappointed “The first six months here, I feel very disappointed.” because: “You know in China, there are a lot of place to go and play together. Here, sometimes I feel lonely.” After about a year of struggling in the lab and at home, Mary began to embrace the new life here in the States “But now sometimes I am happy. I know how to make myself happy and what should I