Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Language, Innovation, Culture & Education 2017

Cross-Cultural Issues Affecting Saudi ESOL Students in The United Kingdom

Maha M. AlOthman

Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom


Crossing cultures is not considered easy because an individual faces various challenges when attempting to adjust to another culture. When international learners decide to study abroad, they likely face some challenges because of the different cultural beliefs, traditions and customs. This study examines the cross-cultural issues affecting Saudi ESOL students in the United Kingdom (UK) and reviews existing literature relating to this topic. The main purposes of this study are to (1) investigate whether Saudi students (SSs) encounter negative cultural experiences when studying in the UK, (2) examine how the English language influences their academic performance and (3) establish whether the SSs report any issues relating to food, climate, communication and social interactions in their studying experiences. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is used to obtain accurate perspectives. One hundred and thirty-three SSs responded to the questionnaire online, and semi-structured interviews were conducted via email with four participants. The data obtained from the questionnaires were analysed using different statistical analysis techniques, and content analysis was used to analyse the interview data. The results indicate that the SSs experienced a negative cultural experience, which was culture shock. This study also found that the students’ English language ability influenced their academic performance while they were studying. The results found that SSs face difficulties adjusting to the UK weather. Implications of the results and further research directions are presented.