New Resources for International Students & Their Instructors

Encouragements are really important. ‘Cause for people who first come here it’s obviously a big shock and everyone speaking English is a little bit overwhelming.

[W]e really want to write the assignment well, that’s the thing we really wish that they could help us.

These are just a couple of the suggestions to be found in a new Sweetland video, “Students Speak: What Multilingual Students Wish Their Professors Knew.” It is one of three new videos focusing on the experiences of multilingual and international students at U-M created by Sweetland’s summer interns Kaitlyn Schuler and Jamie Monville. The other two videos offer advice from returning international students to new ones on campus about ways of making their transition smoother, and about the ways that Sweetland services have been helpful to them and given them greater confidence in their writing.

Now in its third year of supporting U-M’s international and multilingual undergraduate students, Sweetland continues to develop courses and resources to reach these students and the many instructors who work with them in their classes. The videos are one way to reach out, peer to peer, and another is Sweetland’s “Chat Cafés,” casual conversation groups that bring international and multilingual students together to practice speaking English and share tips and ideas about U-M and life in the U.S. (The Chat Cafés were recently profiled in LSA Magazine.)

chatcafe
One of fourteen Chat Cafe groups that meet on campus. Photo credit: Natalie Condon

Sweetland faculty have also been busy creating new courses to support international and multilingual students. The most recent addition is Writing 119: Style and Editing for International Students, a one-credit course that helps students practice the “stylistic elements commonly found in American academic writing” (from the course description) by workshopping and revising papers they are already writing in other classes. Writing 119 is being offered for the first time in fall 2015, and will be taught each semester.

To view all of the courses and resources available to international and multilingual undergraduate students, please see Sweetland’s International Student Support page. And, in the words of third-year student Shiyuan Yin, don’t forget that, “Your opinions matter more than your accent, so definitely speak up for yourself!”