Challenges of International Migration: Mental health issues
faced by international students
This paper is a preliminary attempt to explore the various dimensions of mental health issues faced by international students in U.K., U.S.A, Australia, etc. Student international migration to institutions in the above mentioned countries has been prevalent for a long time. According to Education at a Glance, OECD (2011), in 2009, almost 3.7 mn tertiary students (undergraduate and postgraduate) enrolled outside their countries of citizenship. Asian students represent 52% of foreign students. Since 2000, the number of foreign tertiary students enrolled worldwide increased by 77% for an average annual growth rate of 6.6%. Families devote a large sum of their savings towards overseas education with the expectations of success. However, there might exist a gap between expectations and reality. The process of adjustment to the actual realities may, though not necessarily be initially difficult for the student. In fact the transition from a particular cultural setting to another can adversely impact the mental health of these students who may have to encounter different challenges without the familiar support networks comprising of the family and friends. The responses to the difficulties emanating from the transition are varied. Therefore the movement across countries implies not only physical mobility to a different destination but can be looked upon as a socio-cultural process with underlying psychological dimensions. In this context, the paper attempts to undertake a detailed analysis of: * Epidemiological evidence of mental health issues faced by students and their responses * Manifestation of stress
* Role of support networks
The researcher has reviewed secondary data in terms of the available literature and has attempted to generate a methodology for understanding the problems faced by international students in the Indian context. This is imperative as India in the post-liberalization period has started gaining international visibility in higher education with more foreign collaborations. According to National Higher Education Systems (2012), a report presented by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, India has overtaken China in the field of international higher education. Foreign students in India generally come in from other Asian and African countries like Afghanistan, Ghana, Myanmar and Ethiopia. Empirical research has pointed to various parameters that are associated with mental health problems in students migrating to a new environment: * Demographic Profile of students: Age and ethnicity have a bearing on the issues. Rudell et al. (2008), Ting et al. (2009) and Eisenberg et al. (2009) have shown that younger students are less likely to seek help than older students. Also according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists Report (Sept. 2011), young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are at high risk of developing serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders which may be difficult to diagnose in their early stages. Students who have severe mental illnesses are at considerable risk of academic failure and drop out.
Church (1982) found that in a few studies of gender differences in adjustment, those that had studied gender differences suggested that females might have more difficulties than males. Studies by Rudell et al. (2008), Masuda et al. (2009) and Eisenberg (2009) have revealed that as women are more open about their health problems, they are more likely to seek and utilize services for psychological distress compared to males. Minority ethnic groups are less likely to seek help compared to their counterparts as shown by Rudell et al. (2008). * The socio-cultural and academic set-up: Furnham (1997) has pointed that movement to an alien environment can lead to culture shock. According to Ward et al. (2001) ‘culture shock’ experienced by...
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