When international students come to the United States to study, they get a high-quality education, especially if they go to a private school. The problem, however, lies in cultural adjustment. Even if they come from an English-speaking country, they may speak with a different accent. This makes them feel different as compared to the student body of the school. They might be used to a different diet, different clothes, etc. And they might also feel quite sensitive about comments made by American students even if these are made rather innocently.
This is not to suggest that the entire burden of adjustment rests with the international student. American students also have to learn to be sensitive to the needs of international students. Fortunately, in a private school, where the teacher-student ratio is higher, it’s possible for teachers to keep an eye on international students and make sure that they are happy and well-adjusted. Many adjustments can also be made to make international students feel more welcome.
An orientation session in which students are encouraged to learn more about their new city and their new campus will help students to adjust to the geography of their new school. Adjusting to a new school in a new country is always going to be hard. But at least the students don’t have to be confused about how to find their classrooms on the first day or how to look up a book in the library. Once these small but important practical matters are taken care of, the real work can begin.
Another thing which international students may find difficult is adjusting to the new climate. If they come from a warmer, tropical place, they might have to buy some warmer clothes for the winter. If they come from a colder place, then they’ll have to do the opposite. Fortunately, in a private school, we keep an eye on all our students to make sure that they adjust to their new environment.
Participating in Class
International students will probably feel very awkward and self-conscious in the beginning when it comes to speaking up in class. They might feel this way if they have an accent. Or they might just feel like everyone is staring at them and trying to figure out where they are from. Or they might have a fear of saying the wrong thing. A good teacher in a private school will make sure that an international student participates in class discussions and grows, academically and socially.
Academically, an international student might be very intelligent but not quite used to the American system of education. In certain countries, students may not write papers, only take tests. In other countries, a more verbal form of testing might be the norm. The teachers at a private school will make sure that an international student understands how multiple-choice and essay-type questions should be answered in tests. They’ll also go through the basics of paper-writing and generally make sure that the student has the tools needed to succeed at the school.
At a private school, international students will also be encouraged to participate in the social life of the school. Since the teacher-student ratio is high, teachers can keep an eye on students and see if they’re adjusting to their new environment, socially speaking. Plus, there are also counselors at the school that the student can go to, in case they are having trouble adjusting to their new environment. Joining clubs and societies which are part of the school can also help international students to interact more with the other students at the school.
Contact us to learn more about how we help international students deal with challenges at the Tenney School.