Letter to the International Student Writer

To the international student writer,

I love it when you come to the UWC. Don’t tell your peers, but international students are among my favorites to work with. You are bright, eager, and hard-working. I can’t imagine what it would be like to move to a different continent, across the world for some of you, or to navigate a foreign school system. All too often, you enter our Writing Center appearing solemn, fearful, or sad. I want you to know that not only are you always welcome no matter how ardently you may be struggling with an assignment, but it is a joy to work with you. For me, few things feel more rewarding than when that understanding glimmer appears in your eyes, and you are able to apply a new writing concept to your ever-expanding set of skills. Surviving as a college student is no simple task; you, on the other hand, face more challenges than most. The barriers of language, social standards, and course-work expectations test you daily. Although most of us at the Writing Center can’t fully understand the struggles you endure, we are trained to support and equip you. Some of you don’t realize that your writing struggles are universal. We see students of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities, and all of them have writing weaknesses. In many ways, you have come farther than most traditional students. Few of us are fluent in more than one language, and writing coherently in a different tongue is a separate challenge of its own. Take pride in your progress, no matter how marginal it may seem to you.

Did you know that international students often grasp grammar concepts better than traditional students? Lots of college students were not thoroughly trained in crucial concepts of grammar, structure, and the like. You, on the other hand, had to familiarize yourself with a plethora of writing rules in order to get where you are today. This is an advantage that many of your peers would benefit from. Even when there is something you don’t understand or simply haven’t been taught, you are well equipped to learn.

At the UWC, ‘discouragement’ is not in our vocabulary. Our writing consultants are equippers, not maligners. Although writing apprehension is certainly not particular to you, it shouldn’t ever stop you, either. International students, come to the UWC. Your faces are always a welcome sight, and we are here to help you grow.


Consultant Karoline

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