Safary Wa-mbaleka | Nadine A. Joseph
Students travel from all over the world to study in the Philippines, and that number is significantly increasing. This may be due to affordability, high quality education, and its early progress toward the integration of cultural diversity. They are from different races, religions, linguistic and cultural backgrounds, gender, ideology, and socio-economic status, but most, if not all, have to adapt to their new life in the new country. In the process, many of them may feel isolated. That feeling can go on for a long time without the knowledge of the schools, relatives, or friends and can negatively affect their quality of life during the time they spent studying in the Philippines. Using a sample of 34 students from 19 different countries, 23 individual interviews and five focus group discussions were conducted to examine the experiences of international students in the host country. Some of the major findings revealed that participants spent little or no time on social activities; participants were more comfortable making friends with persons of similar faith or persons from their geographic regions; feelings of isolation did not have the same impact on all participants academic performance-some positively because they were focused on academics – and others negatively. The findings can inform administrators in developing appropriate strategies to assist international students in dealing with their new cultural context.