Studying in the U.S. has been a
major attraction for students from all over the world thanks to its excellence in
academic education and for leading the world in cutting-edge research. For
instance, in 2014 America ranked first worldwide in terms of hosting the
highest number of international students (The Guardian, 2014). The number of
international students has been rising exponentially since the 1970s; the
percentage of international students in the U.S. student population increased
from less than 1% in 1974-1975 to almost 5% in 2014-2015 with almost 1 million
international students (Zong & Batalova, 2016.). These students bring a
wealth of cultural and academic experiences and diversity to their new host environment
and academic settings. In this regard international students, in particular
English as a Second Language (ESL) learners, often experience multiple
difficulties preventing them from adapting to the academic and social settings
of their new environment. This could to a large extent affect their academic
success and their college experience satisfaction. This paper presents a
literature review regarding the factors and the reasons behind ESL students
experiencing difficulties in adapting to the academic and cultural settings of
the United States. The paper also provides implications and policy recommendations
to ease ESL students and international students in general transition to the
U.S system and to ensure increased adjustment to the new host culture and