The life of an international student is filled with new experiences, which at first may seem alluring, yet soon turns out to be devastatingly tedious. Because of the necessity to learn a new language and at the same time retain their national identity and culture, international students at the Cape Breton University have to face a range of challenges. The situation becomes even more complicated as the students decide to have their own families and raise their own children.
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Although combining studying and childrearing is especially hard for the students that are not the native speakers of English and, therefore, will have issues with understanding and learning the course material under the pressure of grades, by introducing the principles of code switching and developing communicative flexibility, the CBU students will be able to tackle the possible studying issues. In addition, practicing the principles of code switching at home with the members of their own families will help such students train their skills and raise their children as bilinguals.
Code switching is an important skill that the CBU international students have to master in order to be able to learn new information swiftly and process it efficiently. There is no secret that, with their new family life, international students will not be able to spend as much time to prepare for their lessons as they used to when they were single. Hence, the need to reconsider the entire studying process emerges.
Another obvious issue that international students at the Cape Breton University often face when creating a family to care for is the drastic lack of time. As it has been stressed above, these students will have to take up a whole new lot of responsibilities, which are most likely to consume their time to a great extent. Thus, the principles of time management will have to be reconsidered.
However, the language related issues seem to be the key concern for international students raising children, especially at the university that is as demanding as the Cape Bristol one. As it has been stressed, the students should analyze the key principles of code switching and use them when having to speak English, particularly at the University. More importantly, it is crucial that the students should practice code switching even when leaving the realm of the University and communicating to their family members.
On the one hand, the process of code switching should not be hindered by any obstacles once the students dive into the realm of the Cape Breton University. Indeed, all of the university staff speaks English, and all lecture materials are supplied in English. However, when it comes to the communication between students, the issue becomes more complicated than one may have thought it to be.
Seeing how the CBU has recently gained the status of the Canadian university with the greatest percentage of international students in it, it will be too optimistic to expect that the students are not going to group according to their ethnicity and communicate in their native language. Hence, the communication between the representatives of all groups must be encouraged to promote speaking in English and, therefore, faster acquisition of new information.
In addition, the very process of code switching may turn rather problematic. When it comes to specifying the differences between the Canadian English and the Arabic language, one must admit that there are few similarities between the two. The differences start at the very phonetic level.
More to the point, the process of word building is just as strikingly different in both languages. The syntax should also be mentioned; unlike in English, where the SVO (subject–verb–object) structure is prevalent (Guo, 2011, p. 115), in the Arabic language, every possible combination is acceptable (Aqual, 2013, p. 70).
On the one hand, the given feature of the Arabic language helps understand English better; on the other hand, an Arabian student is most likely to forget about the SVO structure of English and, therefore, is likely to develop issues in learning to speak the English language, not to mention that the difference in the English and Arabic word order in a sentence is likely to contribute to a range of misunderstandings between English native speakers and Arabian students, who are starting to learn English.
There can be no denying that studying as an international student in the CBU can be extremely intense, especially when a student decides to start their own family and, therefore, is torn apart between the learning process and family life. However, by introducing the principles of code switching into their lives and training their communicative flexibility, such students will be able to both reach academic success and train their children to use both languages efficiently.
With due care and diligence, such students will be capable of raising bilingual children. Even though the process of new language skills acquisition is very complicated and demanding, both in terms of time and effort, with the right approach, one can possibly both graduate with a degree and build strong relationships with the family members.
Aqual, M. H., al. (2013). Syntactic analysis of Arabic adverb’s between Arabic and English: X bar theory. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 1(3), 70–74.
Guo, H. (2011). Types of explicitation within the texts in Chinese-English translation — a case study on the translation of Chapter titles of Hong Lou Meng. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(1), 112–120.