Patrick T. Slowinski, NACADA ESL/International Student Advising Interest Section Chair
The tragedies of September 11, 2001, have had lasting impacts on many who pursue higher education in the United States. International students represent one group that definitely needs our assistance at this time. Some particular concerns involve helping international students understand how to stay in status at all times, and to deal with any negative stereotypes that may have emerged since some of those involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks were in the United States on student visas.
The Bureau of Immigration and Citizenship Services (BCIS) has implemented SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) to better track international students as they are studying in the United States. To better understand SEVIS and some potential pitfalls for international students (e.g., failure to report a change of address, failure to maintain full-time student loads, etc.) Our colleagues at the National Association of International Educators have provided quality information, links to the BCIS, and resources to help us assist international students, so they may remain in the United States legally. Please visit: http://www.nafsa.org/sevisresources for this timely information.
In addition to receiving correct and updated information, international students require advisors who are willing to go the extra mile for them. Some particular challenges that advisors can help international student with include: dealing with culture shock, adapting to new teaching and learning environments, understanding the American higher education system, understanding US social norms, and adapting to food, climate, and legal systems.
Some international students may also feel they are discriminated against because they may pose a security threat to the United States. Ultimately, advisors can intervene this fall to identify international students and assist them in adapting to a new environment and new security measures. Often an understanding voice or face can do more than we know in helping international students make the necessary adaptations as they study in the United States.
Patrick T. Slowinski
Brigham Young University
Cite this article using APA style as: Slowinski, P. (2003, September). Some current issues facing international students: How can advisors help?. Academic Advising Today, 26(3). [insert url here]