Participation challenges of Emirati and Saudi students at US universities

2014 IJRSLL – Volume 3 Issue 5


Al Murshidi, Ghadah*
United Arab Emirates University, UAE (


The purposes of this study are to explore speaking, presentation, participation and socialization challenges in their classrooms. The theoretical orientations framing this study are language and academic socialization, and language adjustment, etc. The study combined quantitative and qualitative strategies involving surveying 250 students followed by interviewing three Emirati and three Saudi students. The interview responses were coded to themes. Content analysis is used to interpret the data. Some major findings of the survey are that Emirati students “rarely” feel that native English speaking students are more competent than they are in classes. Emirati and Saudi students feel “less comfortable” participating in large group discussions and completing presentations assignments, and “comfortable” participating in small group discussion in classes. However, the interview results indicate several factors that influence the cultural adjustment of international students such as language differences and skills (Klineberg & Hull, 1979). As a Saudi student; Khalifah, indicated his experience with silence upon arriving in the US language preparation program due to language differences. He is fluent in his native language “Arabic” and trying to improve his English proficiency. The study implies that Emirati and Saudi students’ sponsors should prepare students to learn new skills and adjust to the educational system of the American universities, which is different from that in their native countries. This study is important for retention programs and for educators and policymakers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and US.

Keywords: academic socialization; language socialization; language adjustment; international education; participation



*Corresponding Author