International Student Services

Communication tips

The University welcomes students from around the world.  International students add diversity, culture and synergy to many classrooms, offices, residence halls, and throughout the St. Joseph community.  Students are committed to and are invested in learning from the American education system and culture, as much as we are challenged and stand to benefit from our mutual discussion, exchange of ideas, empathy, and understanding of our uniqueness.

Tips when advising or communicating with international students:

  • Actively listens, and understand the questions, concerns, or issues for a cultural context or perspective.  Find out the underlying concern.  Students talk/learn from other students, and unfortunately, the information may be wrong, a myth, or not applicable at Missouri Western.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for clarification if you do not understand the message the student is trying to say or convey.  The miscommunication could be due to doubt with American English pronunciation, or the use of the English word.  It is acceptable to tell the student you are trying to understand him/her and ask if the student could provide additional information, provide examples or give explanation.  
  • Understand that international students are total strangers to the American culture and norm.  University internal bureaucracy, “the way we do things,” critical thinking, or even, the “way we think” may not be the norm around the world. Often, international parents are also strangers to the U.S. education system, and are therefore, unable to provide any guidance to the student.  International students appreciate hand-outs, printed materials, to-do lists, etc., to read or absorb in a less stressful time (yes, meeting an advisor or faculty can be stressful).
  • An international student’s activities, actions, or future career may be limited by the U.S. immigration regulation and policies.  For example, students are expected to maintain “good academic standing” at all times, cannot work off-campus without written authorization, and cannot drop enrollment below full time without prior approval. 
  • International students are not all the same!  Many studies, research articles have been published regarding effective cross-cultural communication.

Refer to the following hyperlinks to learn more:

Advising from the Heart: six strategies for Working with International Students, source NACADA Western Oregon University

Communication tips or understanding different etiquette from China, India, and Saudi Arabia – source from Missouri State University

Identifying Barriers to Effective Intercultural Communication, source NACADA Kansas State University

What is in the name? – Just like your name is unique to you, many international names also have meaning to students from the giver (parents). The following is a sample of interesting article and videos:

World Factbook – source Central Intelligence Agency