As an international student interested in transferring to a United States (U.S.) institution or seeking employment in the U.S. it is essential to examine the potential for success. The decision to move to a foreign country can be difficult and very frightening. It is important to identify factors that determine the success of international students in the U.S.
Success is dependent on factors such as the availability of support, communication barriers, economic stability, and most importantly the opportunity for education and employment.
Institutions of higher education provide support for international students by providing financial aid services, orientation for international students, mentors and university contacts to help ease the transition. Support is also available through government agencies, translation services, and many times the international institution the student is currently attending. International institutions commonly work with colleges in the U.S. and may provide funding options for students who transfer to "sister schools".
International students are not eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid. Financial aid is available through graduate teaching positions and research assistantships by applying with the college. Financial support can also be obtained through funding and internship opportunities in the public and private sector. Colleges and Universities can be another resource for finding financial aid. Arizona State University's Support for International Students webpage provides a detailed listing of available funding and internship opportunities.
Support for the internationalization of education includes individuals from Foundations, Corporate and Private sectors, and international organizations. Organizations (NAFSA: Association of International Educators, ACS (American Chemical Society), American Association for the Advancement of Science and Association of American Universities) are working with the federal government to encourage support for the internationalization of education. At the top of their list is the desire to improve the visa process to decrease the time required to get a visa. These organizations and educational institutions have identified numerous ways in which the U.S. benefits from contributions to international education.
International education significantly impacts the U.S. economy. Annually, NAFSA calculates the economic impact of international students on the U.S. economy. With the exception of the 2005 academic year, international students contributions to the U.S. economy increased by approximately $1 Billion per year as determined by NAFSA survey data from 2003 to 2008 (NAFSA.org 2009). NAFSA estimates that the amount of money foreign students brought into the U.S. during the 2007-2008 school year, to pay for their education and to support their families and themselves, was greater than 15.5 Billion dollars (NAFSA.org 2009).
The president of the United States, Barack Obama has called for the reform of America to compete in the global economy. President Obama recognizes the significance of international science and technology and the financial impact the federal government can have on improving our community colleges to support international students. President Obama has made a commitment to improving the fields of math and science and has made a financial obligation to research and development in these areas. President Obama's financial commitment to scientific research and innovation is the largest in America's history (Obama 2009).
President Obama's commitment of three percent of the Gross National Product to scientific research and innovation increases the funding to American universities, potentially providing greater access to international students. American institutions are known for their advances in research and development, their progress in medicine, science, technology and math, and their well funded higher education facilities. International students attending American institutions receive competitive degrees by engaging in high quality, hands on programs with state-of-the art technologies. Obtaining a degree from an American institution is valued by employers, will gain students an excellent return on their investment and opens doors to successful careers.