Problems and Stress among Foreign Students in an International Campus

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The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus welcomed its first students in September 2000 thus becoming the first ever branch campus of a UK university abroad. Being a full and integral part of a global institution, the campus inevitably serves an international community of students. Evidently, the student profile reflects Nottingham's international status as people from many nationalities, cultures and educational backgrounds come to its campus to seek education and experience the process of studying in a foreign land. However, international students often face many problems in a new academic and social environment.

This paper focuses on the problems of Nottingham Business school students (Malaysia campus) with a greater emphasis on international students. The paper also made the distinction between the problems related to studies (course-related problems) and also other problems (non-course related problems). It also looks at the issue of students’ social adjustments, university experience enjoyment and stress levels studying at the university. Questionnaires consisting of both closed and open-ended questions were distributed to 457 students.

The paper found that the main non-course related problems were food, transportation, accommodation, finance, weather and finally, language problems. “Not knowing how to study effectively” and “Too many assignments” were the two biggest course-related problems found. Both the international and local students acknowledge that the issue of language (English) is a crucial factor in their life at the university. From the descriptive analysis, international students were found to experience greater difficulties in settling in (adjustments) and socializing (i.e. making friends and so on) although “university experience enjoyment” (happiness) and “stress” saw little difference. Meanwhile, a binary logistic regression was performed and gender was found to be a significant factor for stress while students’ level of study was slightly significant in “adjustments”, “socialization” and “university experience enjoyment”. Student origin was not significant in the results.


Keywords: English Proficiency, Course-Related Problems, Non-Course Related Problems, Questionnaire, Binary Logistic Regression
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Problems and Stress among Students in an International Campus


Yoong Hon Lee

Assistant Professor, Business Economics
Business School, University of Nottingham

Semenyih, Selangor, Malaysia

I am an Economics lecturer at the Nottingham Busines School which is under the Faculty of Social Science which is a part of the University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus. I love my profession, which is mostly about teaching and doing research. Currently, my research work deals a lot on efficiency and productivity analysis of utilities. Having said that, I also enjoy teaching immensely and being in a role where I can lecture and inspire young people and help them tap their fullest potential. It gives me a lot of pride being in this line of work. The paper that I am presenting is one that looks into the many problems of international students at the campus that I work in, which is incidentally, a foreign (British) university that is located in Malaysia. To me, it's an interesting and useful topic as many people are unaware of the various problems (both academic and non-academic) that are plaguing many students (especially international ones)thus it may be crucial to uncover the extent of such problems so that the relevant school personnel can look into them.

Ref: L09P0074