In the Classroom: International students have many opportunities to build expertise and learn cool topics in the classrooms. Sometimes, the US classroom culture may be different from your home country. Here are a few tips to help you succeed.
- The instructor is your best resource. Reach out to the instructor if you have any questions about the class. Establish a professional relationship with your professors by communicating politely and effectively. Visiting them during office hours is a great way to get to know them and to have a better grasp of class materials.
- The syllabus is the map of the class. Make sure you read it carefully to know important information about the class: class policy, grading components, exam schedule, the instructor’s office hours, etc.
- Your classmates might help you learn more efficiently in class. You might work on presentations together or form a study group. Talk to them to learn more about US cultures or make friends with them.
- Class Participation: In many classes, the instructors might expect you to express your ideas. It is common that you might feel nervous or awkward when English is not your first language. Please know that even if you are from the US, you can still have accents depending on your ethnic groups or the regions you are from. If you are conscious about your own accent, talk slowly to make sure other people understand you. Another tip to feel comfortable in participating in class discussions is to say something early on. When you hear your own voice at the beginning, you feel more at ease in the classroom.
- Student Hub is a great tool for you to manage your schedules, make appointments, receive important reminders about your academics, and follow the student organizations of your interest.
Beyond the Classroom
- CASA: Your CASA coach can help explain U.S. classroom expectations and connect you to different resources. Talk to your coach about major/minor exploration, challenges, or just let them know how things are going.
- Faculty Advisor: Reach out to your faculty advisor about course selection, academic advisement, and graduation plan.
- Learning, Speaking, and Speaking Centers: In the Learning Center, you can have free one-on-one tutoring for the classes you are taking or tutoring for academic skill development and academic English support. If you are working on a paper or presentation, the Writing Center and Speaking Center can offer substantial support no matter which stages you are at.
- Conversation Partners Program: Practice your English speaking with highly proficient English speakers through this Academic English for Multilingual Students (AEM) program.
US higher education takes Academic Integrity seriously. According to the USF Academic Integrity policy, students are expected to indicate when they are using ideas and words from someone else and document where these ideas came from. Presenting someone else's ideas as your own is called plagiarism. Outside of the US, some education systems may not have a clear policy around this act, thus leaving room for ambiguity. Since the practices and requirements of US higher education, and the USF Academic Integrity policy may be different from your previous experience, it is important to take time to learn how to do citations correctly. Even students with good intentions can violate the USF Academic Integrity policy and suffer the harsh consequences. If you have questions, you can always talk to your professors, tutors at the Writing Center, or reference librarians.