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Vancouver Island University is one of the universities which is always looking for ways to improve the student experience. Every year VIU have different events and programs or facilities for local and international students. In the year of 2016-2017, 14% international students have arrived at VIU during September and January session (VIU planning and analysis, 2017); and being new to the country they faced a lot of problems. Some of the problems were like, difficulty in speaking and understanding the local language, finding a cheap accommodation to live and getting knowledge about the culture of the country. Thus, my formal report will present the problems of international students and plan to solve the problems of students which result in the improvement of their overall student experience at the university.
The focus of Vancouver Island University has always been in improving its International facilities for International students.
Every time it been a hard time for the first-year students to adjust themselves in an environment that has been completely been opposite from their culture. However, the student services, administration, and facilities should focus on these issues to improve their student experience. The very first issue faced by the students is to learn about the host culture and host environment as most of the international students are academically do their well. And they face problem in social interaction with other students. For example, I faced this challenge when I came to Canada; I did not have any friends for the first month of the semester because I was not good at interacting with people. Whenever I tried to talk to students either they did not understand me, or I was having trouble to catch their accent.
Secondly, students need to make various adjustments related to their living, their jobs, or their studies. The most important issues for an international student is the language problem as VIU has a diversity of students and there still a lot of students who have English as their second are not fluent while communicating with other students or staff. The major issue faced by students especially for those international students who are dealing with the personal psychological adjustment (e.g., with depression, homesickness, stress, anxiety) as well as trying to cope up with the change of cultural environment. For example, In India, it is easy for students to talk to each other because of having the same language and cultural background as compared to Canada where each student is from a different country. I had like this situation at my work. I was taking the garbage out of the store and my co-worker was standing on my way, I asked her can you move on the side? She took it as an offense and told me the world you should say is excuse me. As a result, I was so embarrassed because of my limited ability to speak English. There are other issues that faced by students which includes finding cheap and good accommodation to live. For example, it is very expensive to live on an Island where the minimum wage is so less. I personally had to pay 800 for a sharing apartment.
To look more deeply into these issues, it is important to have the survey for all international or local students. My plan is to survey at least 500 students.
The survey will be based on the following components:
Projected Plan Based on above-discussed issues of student experience I propose the following plan for improving the student experiences and making their first- year of the university more comfortable:
The online questionnaire would be helping to determine to collect data analysis of their experience. Currently, we have an evaluation for professors which help them to see if they were successful or not during the semester, but I think there is a need for a survey for students to express their thoughts on university experience. So, the questionnaire would be compulsory to the students to attend which would include around 60 questions asking students about their living adjustments, university facilities and the reasons for their satisfaction or dissatisfaction; the questions will be based on the program the students have taken. In addition, there will be a feature to rate the overall experience with the university. However, after having the questionnaire it would be sent to the department advisor to calculate the average satisfaction of student experience. Then, this report will be published at the site of the university so, everyone can see the results. Therefore, it will attract more prospective students to join the university.
The next step after the questionnaire should be creating the profile of students. The special team of technology would be conducting survey determine the student profiles which would include the student Age and Gender and from which country do they belong to which would help to determine their culture, their experiences and about their satisfaction levels of university facilities or services. Therefore, the questionnaire questions can be easy to understand because of the different age group and culture. Seminar: It is very important to bring all the students together, so it will push them to talk to each other. The Seminar should include the engagement for all students especially for the first-year students where they are engaged to the campus community and where students are provided common experiences and are exposed to learning outcomes.
However, the seminars should be held at the starting of every semester as these seminars not only are done for the students but also, the faculty members where they had the small social gathering and the idea of what should be improved in students comfort when they are in the campus.
All students should engage in various activities exploring outside their classroom and interacting with their mentors should begin at the starting of the year. And there should be various scholarships for the students so that they could get every opportunity for exploring themselves and could do something for themselves. For example, most of the students don’t consider participating in scholarship offered to them by the university because of not able to interact with professors on a regular basis. There should be support from professors in every class because usually, students don’t see the university website and their email to check what events are happening on the campus.
The final report would be based on the analysis of data of survey in the various graphics defining every section of the student experience and their views on what should be improved more to make them more comfortable.
With the approval of the department head, the following schedule can be arranged for student experience improvement.
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