Almost a million students/scholars from around the world now study in the US, and they all go through similar processes of learning new words and ideas, gaining new knowledge and skills, and adapting to unfamiliar value systems underlying academic practices here. This site is designed to provide some of these scholars the opportunity to share their academic experiences in the form of stories and to discuss issues of their interest by responding to each other’s stories.
This site is a part of a participatory action research project led by Shyam Sharma, a teacher and scholar of Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University (State University of New York). The research is “participatory” in the sense that international students are invited as “participants” who take “action,” through storytelling, toward helping one another successfully navigate a new system of higher education (instead of being considered the “subject” of study as in much of conventional research). By facilitating the process of sharing stories and joining the conversation (through commenting on one another’s stories), this project aims to help international students “translate” past experiences, knowledge, and skills into academic success in US universities.
The “research” dimension of this project will also involve analyzing the stories as they grow in numbers and serve as material for scholarly discourse on and off line.
One more important feature of this project is that this site will also publish “expert posts” written by established scholars who are involved in teaching international students and/or studying issue of academic transition and success that affect them. The objective of making available relatively theoretical and scholarly posts–some of which are based on personal experiences of former international students and others are based on experiences of teaching or doing research about international students by local scholars–alongside international students’ stories is to try to enhance the conversations.
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