(Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE, 2002). However, the issue among international students has been a great concern recently. International students tend to suffer from diverse problems caused by excessive stress. From my perspective, this trend should be reduced with joint efforts of institutions, mental health counseling and international students themselves, because the stress negatively influences students' mental and physical well-being, academic performance and social adjustment.
Acculturative stress raises a wide range of physical and mental concerns. According to
Axelon (1993), the author of “Counseling and Development in a Multicultural Society”, international students are physically vulnerable to excessive and continuous stress, such as physical tension, blushing, perspiration, and an increase in blood pressure, body temperature and heart rates.
Also, international students may be afflicted with consistent deficiency of appetite, sleep, and energy, headaches, as well as gastrointestinal problems (Thomas&Althen, 1989). On the mental health side, international students tend to go through a wide range of emotions. For example, confronted with language barriers, international students are likely to have difficulty in being compatible with the new environment, which gives rise to deep feelings of frustration and estrangement. Also, living far from family and friends, international students may suffer from a strong sense of loneliness and helplessness due to lack of emotional support. In addition, international students normally have numerous expectations before they come to host countries.
However, the higher expectations are, the more disappointed international students might feel. As a result, it seems that international students's mental and physical well-beings will suffer.
In addition to physical and mental illness, the stress international students confront also has an adverse impact on their academic performance. Language barriers seem to be a major contributing factor to students' poor academic performance. According to Cadieux & Wehrly, the authors of “Advising and Counseling the International Student ”, lack of English abilities and skills may impede international students’ understandings of lectures, interactions with professors, and participations in academic discourses (Cadieux & Wehrly, 1986). Meanwhile, many international students cannot neglect the high expectations from their home countries, families and themselves.
For instance, students' families may be not financially comfortable enough to cover the high expenses of studying abroad. However, a majority of parents still want their children to pursue better education, so they work harder and harder. Therefore, it brings higher pressure to bear on international students. Students are more likely to fail if they are not capable to handle such pressure properly. In addition, poor academic achievement of international students is also largely due to their unfamiliarity with the western education system. A majority of international students find it difficult to adjust to a distinctive education system (Thomas & Althen, 1989). For example,
Asian students tend to be quiet in class since they are not allowed to discuss and criticize teachers' ideas without teacher's permission in their home countries, while active participation in discussion and critical thinking are highly-demanded and recommended in the western education system. As a result, it takes time and effort for international students to get accustomed to the new