Wednesday, September 2, 2009

International Students

Rebekah Nathan interviewed several international students for her book. She found that rarely are they asked about their own lives or countries, instead U.S. citizens touted their own country as the best in the world, even if they had never been anywhere else. Furthermore, international students felt that their U.S. counterparts were either impatient with them if they struggled with the language or if their accent was difficult to understand.

It would be wonderful if all young people had the opportunity to travel abroad, but for those who can't, having an international experience is as easy as talking to someone from another country. Ask them something about themselves. I sometimes ask students in my Spanish class who among them finds it hard learning another language. Most say it is. I ask them to keep that in mind the next time they meet someone who doesn't speak English as well as they do. I am happy if at the end of the semester that is all they take with them. I am ecstatic if they remember enough to actually use their Spanish sometime, and go over the moon when they contact me to tell me about it.

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