4. Being welcoming
Just before starting their studies, many international students are very excited and enthusiastic but once they start going from lecture to lecture struggling to understand, motivation can quickly drop. No one notices their presence anymore, as they are one of many and our lecture is also one of many. This can be very disheartening, confusing and tiring. It is therefore important that we are welcoming.
Sharing with all students when they start their course that we are privileged to be in an international learning environment can help international students feel valued and included, and all students appreciate each other more. We can highlight the opportunities to learn about different cultures, values and uses, and to experience how individuals perform academic tasks differently.
Showing students a map of the world signalling the countries represented at the university, or on the course, expresses visually the international community that we are part of and manifests our interest in it. The international services will be very happy to supply the information needed.
Having a good relationship with lecturers and teachers is one of the social aspects considered important by Economics students in the UK: *
- ‘…the good relationship between lecturers and students and the possibility to meet very diverse and interesting people…’
If we participate in events that celebrate the international community within the department or at the university we have the opportunity to meet international students informally, which is valuable for the rapport mentioned by Jackson (2003). In Petropoulou’s (2001) words ‘taking an interest in the students can evoke commitment and inspiration making the course satisfying for both teacher and students’.