Saturday, October 04, 2008

International students

Just published is a study based on about 140 interviews with international students (interviewed in their native language):
Sovic, S. (2008) Lost in Transition? The International Students’ Experience Project. London: University of the Arts.
A number of points emerge which probably apply beyond the university where the study took place. These include (as might be expected) unfamiliarity with the educational approach (e.g. expecting both more guidance and more helpfulness from teachers) and language problems. However it does explore the nature of the language problems in more depth, and also highlights the fact that it is not just to do with "English" as American students come up with a lot of similar comments.

The attitude of UK students emerges as a problem (being impatient and uninvolved), and group work exercises are advocated, even though these have their problems too, since they can help students to get to know each other. Information Literacy is not directly mentioned, apart from being implied in brief discussion of referencing etc. in teh context of study skills. However, it seems to me that the situation that the students are in requires advanced information literacy skills to get up to speed in the new country and environment. Libraries come out well, since they were about the only thing that students mentioned as being above their expectations! (or, in part, the expectations created by the university's marketing blurb). Students say that they would like counsellors who understand (and are from) their own culture, and I was reminded how in Australia there is more native-langauage library and information literacy support than in the UK.

Photo by Sheila Webber, September 2008

No comments: