Undergraduate Emirati Students’ Challenges of Language Barrier in Meeting Expectations of English Medium University in the UAE

Publication Name

Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)


This paper analyses the challenges faced by Emirati students who are admitted to universities in the UAE where the medium of instruction is in English. The study focuses mainly on the expectations of their performance during a full semester course where students are supposed to move from an intermediate level B1 user of English to upper intermediate B2 in a short span of one semester which is less than four months. The sample was collected from students’ past assessments in correlation to their language admission requirement, who are enrolled in the first year in two compulsory general English courses in an undergraduate degree program. The paper examines the validity of whether the IELTS and EmSAT exam scores that are the standard tests accepted for the entrance of both courses is achievable within a little period of time and the effects of whether linguistic acquisition can be obtained. Two sections of entrance English courses samples are compared to the other data collected from two sections of follow on level English course, along with the test scores achieved by the same students to enter the university. The paper reveals the findings of discrepancies between students who start with entrance English course (English 1) and progress to the follow-on English course (English 2) as opposed to the students who are admitted directly to the higher-level English 2 course. The main purpose behind this study is to understand the challenges faced by nonnative speakers of English i.e. Emiratis in particular and bridging the gap of linguistic barriers that they face in their tertiary studies in the target language.

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13316 LNCS

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