International Educator - March/April 2012 - 56

FOREIGN STUDENT

Affairs

By Karen Doss Bowman

Beyond the Comfort Zone

W
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR M A R + A P R . 12

Large groups of international students from a particular country or region pose a challenge for international offices trying to ensure that these students can integrate fully with the host campus community.

HEN JING CUI LEFT HER HOMETOWN of Sichuan, China, two years ago to study at Michigan State University (MSU), her shyness and struggles with conversational English made her more comfortable hanging out with other students from China—who comprise nearly one-half of the campus’ entire population of international students. But Cui was intrigued by American culture, so she began seeking opportunities to meet Americans and international students from other countries. “I felt like it was really important for me to com- The Challenge of Integrating
municate with American students since I’m in the U.S.,” says Cui, a supply chain management major. “That’s why I started doing something to make myself engage with American students and the environment and to experience different cultures besides the Chinese culture.” Cui began attending weekly international coffee hour gatherings hosted by MSU’s International Student Association, where she developed friendships with students from the United States and other cultures. As Cui immersed herself in campus life, she sharpened her English skills and emerged as a standout student leader. A mentor in her residence hall, Cui serves as vice president of the International Student Association and is a tutor for a finance class. She also is a member of MSU’s Chinese Undergraduate Advisory Group (formerly called Project Explore), which was formed for the purpose of advising MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars and the Asian Studies Center on assessing issues of concern for Chinese undergraduates at the universities and seeking solutions. “I think the most meaningful thing about coming to the U.S. to study is to meet people from the whole world,” says Cui, who interned at John Deere last summer. “It’s a lot of fun to know the ways people are different from me and to know we have some similarities as well.”

As the international student population grows annually, so does the challenge for international advisers across the nation. According to the November 2011 Open Doors report—published by the Institute of International Education (IIE)—the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities increased by five percent during the 2010–2011 academic year. The top three sending countries are China, India, and South Korea, whose citizens make up nearly half (46 percent) of the total international enrollment population in the United States. Additionally, an increasing number of students from Saudi Arabia have enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities during the past five years, thanks to generous support provided by a Saudi government scholarship program. Cui’s initial hesitancy to integrate with the broader campus community and to reach out beyond her cultural group is a common reaction among international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities— particularly among those whose school attracts large populations of students from their home country or region. It’s easier and more comfortable to form friendships with people from similar backgrounds— and that also helps to ease homesickness and culture shock. Even so, international students who fail to assimilate into the campus community miss out on the full U.S. cultural experience they were seeking.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - March/April 2012

International Educator - March/April 2012
Contents
From the Editors
In Brief
Voices: University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi
Overcoming Chaos
Degrees of Distinction
Macalester College
Foreign Student Affairs
A View from Out Here
In Focus
Language Supplement
The language of Business
Launching Pad: Community College Programs
Intensive English Language Directory
Intensive Foreign Language Directory
International Educator - March/April 2012 - International Educator - March/April 2012
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Cover2
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Contents
International Educator - March/April 2012 - From the Editors
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 3
International Educator - March/April 2012 - In Brief
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 5
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 6
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 7
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 8
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 9
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 10
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 11
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 12
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 13
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 14
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 15
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Voices: University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 17
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 18
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 19
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 20
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 21
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Overcoming Chaos
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 23
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 24
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 25
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 26
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 27
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 28
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 29
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 30
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 31
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Degrees of Distinction
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 33
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 34
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 35
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 36
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 37
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 38
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 39
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 40
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 41
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 42
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 43
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 44
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 45
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Macalester College
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 47
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 48
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 49
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 50
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 51
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 52
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 53
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 54
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 55
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Foreign Student Affairs
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 57
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 58
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 59
International Educator - March/April 2012 - A View from Out Here
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 61
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 62
International Educator - March/April 2012 - 63
International Educator - March/April 2012 - In Focus
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Cover3
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Cover4
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Language Supplement
International Educator - March/April 2012 - BB2
International Educator - March/April 2012 - SCover1
International Educator - March/April 2012 - SCover2
International Educator - March/April 2012 - The language of Business
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S2
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S3
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S4
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S5
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S6
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S7
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S8
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Launching Pad: Community College Programs
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S10
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S11
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S12
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S13
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Intensive English Language Directory
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S15
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S16
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S17
International Educator - March/April 2012 - Intensive Foreign Language Directory
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S19
International Educator - March/April 2012 - S20
International Educator - March/April 2012 - SCover3
International Educator - March/April 2012 - SCover4
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