Thank you to Liz Brown and Lucy Dawson in UAP for these suggestions for our international students.
This is a particularly challenging time for many international students who are unable to return home because of travel restrictions and concerns about being able to leave again. The following list includes ideas international students have said are helpful to them as they navigate their education in America – and they are even more critical now as these students may need more intentional reaching out and consideration to remain engaged and feeling a part of the larger university community. Their contributions will add a rich layer during this unique time in history. Their suggestions are:
  • Add interpersonal and F2F elements to help students from high-context cultures – students from other cultures rely on these intangible cues and clues to understand the learning environment, and they can feel more lost without these subtle points of direction
  • Develop relationships: Take an interest in your students’ culture, background and pronounce their name correctly
  • Require regular zoom/google hangouts check-in virtually F2F
  • Group assignments:  build in virtual F2F time
  • Make expectations & procedural instructions very clear
  • Adjust expectations for students from collectivist cultures for online discussions
  • Students may be reticent to oppose authority or others in the class
  • To inspire critique, use this phrasing:  “Identify 2 strengths and 2 areas you have questions about” instead of “weaknesses in the argument” (avoids conflict, countering authority, loss of  face – Chris Flanders
  • Countering Uncertainty Avoidance:  Find ways to encourage engagement and recognize the presence of international students
  • Provide structure
  • Give advanced notice for contributions from their cultural perspective
  • Clearly communicate each day’s goals and objectives
  • Proactively offer help if an international student is struggling
  • Give precise feedback on written work.