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International student

International students are foreign nationals, usually in early adulthood, who study in schools overseas. While most universities have official exchange programs, some well-funded high schools have them too. Although some solely come to improve their language, others come to advance their specialized studies.

While some international students already possess an excellent command of the local language upon arrival. Some find their language ability, considered excellent domestically, inadequate for the purpose of conveying oneself fluently in rapid conversations. Because of this linguistic barrier, they are sometimes or frequently ridiculed or even harassed.

Many countries force international students to pay higher tuition than citizens of the country. This discrimination is usually justified by the arguement that the students' parents do not pay the taxes of the country. The fact that a large number of international students decide to settle in the country in which they are studying and become productive citizens is, however, ignored.


Much of the elite of the developing world are eductated in western universities. These include individuals as diverse as Ho Chi Minh and Abdullah II of Jordan.

Numerous international students from China were sent to the US during the late 19th century and 20th century by the government in an attempt to understand the culture and technology of the West that may be incorporated into the Chinese culture. Some of those international students (who may have come unofficially) became well-known scientists, such as Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee, and Chien-Shiung Wu. Some of these international students became citizens of their host countries. (See overseas Chinese, for example)

Universities with large populations of certain ethinic groups often have socities form for these groups. These groups often become important parts of the university community. They also provide an important social network for students who may have no friends or relatives in the country, and difficulty interacting with peers who have a differing mother tongue.


International students usually do not have extensive connection in the local areas, and may find themselves uncertain where to turn to when faced with threatening situations. Threats are caused both by natives in their host country, but as well as those from their own ethnicity.

Some of the threats are immediate and lethal, such as a series of attacks in 2002, when several female Asian international students were seriously harmed in Canada.

  • Ji-Won Park, a 22-year-old South Korean student was severely attacked and choked when jogging. The attacker left her dying in a ditch, and she fell into a 3-month coma that deprived her of speech and major mobility.
  • Wei Amanda Zhao (赵巍), a Beijinger whose body found near a rural lake.
Park's attempted killer was Caucasian (who claimed Park an "easy target"), Zhao's killer was Chinese Mainlander. These tragedies also caused concerns for Asian Canadians, especially the Chinese Canadians.

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