Emirati and Saudi Students’ Writing Challenges at U.S. Universities

Ghadah Al Murshidi


The study examines writing challenges Emirati and Saudi students face at U.S. universities. Based on a sample of 219, a mixed methods approach was used to analyze responses from the participants. The results of the questionnaire reveal that Less than 31% Emirati and Saudi students feel “comfortable” in completing written assignments. The interviews results indicate that Emirati and Saudi students have different opinions regarding writing difficulties. An Emirati student, stated: “I am worried a lot because writing is not easy. Writing is very difficult for us.” However, a Saudi student expressed the easiness of her writing assignments. Emirati students stated that grammar, word choice and sentence construction are “somewhat easy”; however, Saudi students indicated that grammar, word choice and sentence construction are “Somewhat difficult.” An Emirati student, stated: “Most Arabs students are told that we do not have vocabulary or grammar. For me, grammar is okay but my difficulty is how to choose the appropriate word for a sentence. A female Emirati student expressed her worry for grammatical mistakes, which she tries to correct: “When I write my reports, I have to reread my report again because I am sure I will have some grammatical mistakes because English is not my first language. The study implies that the students need more coursework in academic writing to prepare them for their academic writing in their disciplines. U.S. universities need to increase the visiting hours of writing centers and design more workshops that teach the students about writing in various genres.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v7n6p87

English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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