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International Students

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PLANNING INSTRUCTION & LEARNING ACTIVITIES (read more: pp ​​198 - 206 in the JITT Guide)

WHAT IS IT?What is it?

Increasingly, international students from across the globe are coming to the US, attracted by the high-quality education offered at many universities (Turner, 2015)1. In the 2018-2019 academic year, about 17% of the undergraduate enrollment at UC Davis were international students (UC Info Center, 2018). International students contribute to the diversity of our campus and enrich classroom environments with their unique experiences and perspectives.


In addition to the academic challenges international students face, they may also experience a variety of social and cultural challenges as they navigate attending school in a new country. Their transition to attending school in the US can often be overwhelming for international students, who may experience trouble communicating with instructors, staff, and peers. They may also experience culture shock, social isolation, homesickness, and other difficulties adjusting to a new culture (Wu et al., 2015).

DATA …Data

  • 18% of UCD students reported a very good (or excellent) ability to understand international perspectives at matriculation.
  • 39% of UCD students reported a very good (or excellent) ability to work with people from out cultures/backgrounds (UCUES, 2018).


  • Assist students with time management by breaking up longer assignments with periodic due dates.  Frequently remind students of these and other deadlines.

  • Use a "round-robin" discussion structure, in which students speak in turns "going around" the circle. This gives each student a designated time to speak and is good for all students who find it difficult to speak in groups.

  • Encourage students to seek out clubs and other groups related to their home countries, as these organizations often offer social support to struggling students.

  • Ask open-ended questions in order to facilitate equitable participation amongst domestic and international students. Encourage students to share their diverse perspectives but take care to not expect one student to be the sole representative of their culture.

  • Use group-building strategies like “numbering off” to ensure that your domestic and international students have regular opportunities to form relationships and participate in intergroup dialogue.




  • “When I get regular feedback on assignments, I am able to use suggestions in the next one.  These comments really help me learn.”
  • “One time when I was really struggling, my professor emailed me.  By showing her concern, I felt much better going into her office to ask for support.”


  • In what ways can you leverage and build on students’ diverse perspectives and experiences in your lectures and activities?
  • How can you limit use of specific cultural references?  How can you explain the references you do use (in syllabi, lectures, slides, etc.) to ensure that all students understand and feel included?

  • 1. List of all references in the complete JITT Guide.