chapter is written for US faculty and TAs who teach international students.
Faculty and TAs from other countries who want to learn more about the
cultural and academic assumptions of US students may consult the books
listed under "Information for International TAs" in Appendix
past decade, the number of international students at U.Va. has grown dramatically.
The university benefits in numerous ways from the knowledge, skills and
perspectives brought by students from different parts of the world. However,
as newcomers, international students face multiple pressures that may
affect their academic performance. Foremost among these is their level
of English language proficiency (accent, enunciation, slang, colloquial
phrases, etc.), but there are many other stresses that they may also encounter.
Many international students report that they find the instruction of their
classes fast-paced because they must make a number of adjustments, not
only to language and communication styles, but also to the US educational
system, and to other cultural and social differences, all while trying
to absorb new material and ideas. Being aware of these pressures, as well
as the non-academic ones faced by international students can help you
respond to them in ways that enhance their academic performance.
among the non-academic obstacles that international students encounter
is the real and perceived scrutiny they undergo when applying for a visa.
The tightening of immigration restrictions that followed the attacks on
September 11, 2001, have made it difficult for many international students
to get their visas approved or renewed in a timely manner. Students from
South Asia, the Middle East, and many other Arab nations face particular
scrutiny: Male students between the ages of 16 and 45 who come from twenty-five
countries within these geographic regions must "go through special
registration procedures upon arrival in the United States, including fingerprinting,
which have led many of them to complain that they are being treated like
criminals." (Jacobson 1). This scrutiny extends not only to their
visas, but also to their course of study, if it includes science courses
listed on the State Department's Technology Alert List. If, for example,
an international student signs up for a course in biochemistry or nuclear
technology, he or she could be subject to investigation. If a student
asks you about immigration issues, refer him or her to the International
Studies Office or the International Students and Scholars Program (982-
3010, 208 Minor Hall).
unfortunate result of 9/11 has been a rise in reports of hostility directed
at some international students. Across the United States, international
students have encountered threats, racial profiling, physical violence,
and other forms of overt and subtle discrimination (Know Your Rights 1).
If you suspect or are informed that a student has been a victim of harassment
or violence, refer him or her to the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs
(EOP, 924-3200). See also the section on harassment and assault in Chapter