International Educator - November/December 2013 - 45

Several cultural differences that become
problems on a U.S. college campus:
a more leisurely sense of time, an
assumption that grades and deadlines can
be negotiated, and a preference for faceto-face or personal communication.
ideals. We have students who just have a curiosity, or their parents
urged them to come, or their relatives came."
Van Dyck says some of the scholarship students are less proficient
in English when they arrive, so PSU began offering lower-level English classes to help prepare them for college-level courses. Kanaan
says there is a cultural component to language that goes beyond
understanding every word, and he helps "to bridge that gap. Bring
students out of their shell so they can feel safe and comfortable to
communicate freely and integrate with the culture."
Kanaan also tries to defuse problems before they explode. "I need to
hold their hands and empower them.... If they don't come to me, they
rely on their buddies and they go into a rabbit hole and fail and come to
me at the end when there are no solutions." And deep into that rabbit
hole, a Middle Eastern student may conclude not that he didn't follow
the right procedures, but "they saw my name and they don't like me."

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

State Department encourages foreign students to get a taste of U.S.
college classes with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), Saudi
Arabia limits students to six online credits per degree. But whose responsibility is it to keep tabs on the courses a foreign student takes?
"Is the sponsor like a parent?" asks Van Dyck. "We don't interfere.
We have told the students to inform their adviser."
The top four states receiving Saudi scholarship students are
California, Texas, Ohio, and Florida, but Portland State University
believes it may have the distinction of being the only U.S. university with more students from the Middle East than China. Out of
2,000 foreign students on the PSU campus this fall, 650 are from the
Middle East and 500 of those from Saudi Arabia.
"We realized we needed to grow with this trend and serve them
in a different way," says Van Dyck. Palestinian-born Kanaan Kanaan
was hired as a Middle East student adviser. "The cultural issues and
adapting are different. The difference is the scholarship. It's a tremendous opportunity but I don't know if they were driven to come
to the U.S. by themselves, through their own toil and their own

International student advisers working with students from Middle
Eastern countries note several cultural differences that become
problems on a U.S. college campus: a more leisurely sense of time,
an assumption that grades and deadlines can be negotiated, and a
preference for face-to-face or personal communication. A perfect
example is the young Saudi student at the counter of a copy store
in Arlington, Virginia. Upon picking up a report he had left to be
bound, he noticed a duplicate page. The clerk offered to do it over
while the young man waited. "No, I can't. The class has already
started," he said, clutching his homework.
Each cultural difference and challenge requires adjustments on
both sides. When a science lab at Northern Arizona University was
having issues with students not understanding safety procedures,
Andrew Janusz, the coordinator for Sponsored Student Programs,
helped the department revise the syllabus to clarify the safety rules.
Janusz says professors and administrators need to be "firm but compassionate." At 8:00 a.m. class begins, but be prepared to listen if a
student comes to you with a question. "Don't look at the time and
say 'I have five minutes,'" says Kanaan. "Middle Easterners don't get to
the point right off the bat. They will keep telling you something and
at the end say, 'Oh, by the way, I have this problem.'" Janusz does presentations for faculty, other university staff, and community groups to
expand the arena for cultural understanding. At the University of Illinois, Springfield, Moroccan Driss El-Akrich, director of the intensive
English program, says he impresses on students that they are ambassadors of their country and their religion. "If you project a bad image,
you are not just impacting yourself. That made a little difference."

N O V + D E C . 13

THINKSTOCK

Cultural Norms Require Adaptation

45



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2013

International Educator - November/december 2013
Contents
From the Editors
In Brief
Core Values
Reawakening Higher Education in Iraq
University of South Florida: What's in a Name? The World
Foreign Student Affairs
View From Out Here
Forum
In Focus
Supplement
When a Student Dies Abroad
International Educator - November/December 2013 - International Educator - November/december 2013
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Contents
International Educator - November/December 2013 - From the Editors
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2013 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 6
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 8
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 10
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 12
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Core Values
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 16
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 18
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 22
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Reawakening Higher Education in Iraq
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 26
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 28
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 34
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2013 - University of South Florida: What's in a Name? The World
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 38
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 40
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 42
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Foreign Student Affairs
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 46
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2013 - View From Out Here
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 49
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 50
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 51
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Forum
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 53
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 54
International Educator - November/December 2013 - 55
International Educator - November/December 2013 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Cover4
International Educator - November/December 2013 - Supplement
International Educator - November/December 2013 - SCover2
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S1
International Educator - November/December 2013 - When a Student Dies Abroad
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S3
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S4
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S5
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S6
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S7
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S8
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S9
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S10
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S11
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S12
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S13
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S14
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S15
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S16
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S17
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S18
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S19
International Educator - November/December 2013 - S20
International Educator - November/December 2013 - SCover3
International Educator - November/December 2013 - SCover4
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