If you are hosting an international student, there’s probably some nervousness in your household about the start of the new school year. After all, doing well in school can be challenging enough without the additional stress of language barriers and cultural differences.
For this reason, it is highly recommended that you begin to prepare the international student in your life for the new school year now. This will allow them some time to become familiar with the culture here before being thrown into the whirlwind that is the beginning of the school year.
Break the Language Barrier
To begin with, it is important that you ensure the student’s English is as polished as possible. This will be crucial for both their academic and social success. Therefore, plenty of summertime practice should be made a priority.
In order to break the language barrier and make sure the student is learning proper English, you will want to:
- Avoid slang
- Speak slowly and clearly
- Check that you have been understood
In addition to speaking English, the student in your life will also need to be able to read and write in English. You can help them become fluent in these skills by reading together daily. At first, this might mean you read aloud while the student follows along in his or her own copy of the book. However, after several sessions, you will want to encourage the young person to do some of the reading too.
Heading into a new school in a new country can be incredibly nerve-wracking. However, if your international student is surrounded by friends and has experience handling themselves in social situations, the whole experience can be much more positive.
For this reason, it is a good idea to use the last weeks of summer to introduce the student to peers they will be attending school with. This will allow the kids time to connect and establish a strong relationship before they ever set foot in the school building together.
Create Cultural Comfort
A person visiting from another country will likely come with a set of cultural norms that differ from our own. While this may not be a big issue when you are at home together, these differences can cause issues in school and social settings. Therefore, it is important that you kindly point out cultural differences when you notice them, and explain what is and is not acceptable to the people living here in the United States.
Find One-on-One Instruction
The final suggestion is one that can be a tremendous help, and therefore should not be ignored. As an international student, your young friend will probably feel pretty nervous about going to an American school. What’s more, throwing them into a traditional classroom setting will likely leave them feeling overwhelmed and could even lead to depression.
We know you want your international student to be comfortable and happy during their stay with you, and we cannot recommend enough that you find this young person a school setting that is comfortable for them. For most foreign kids, this will mean looking into one-on-one instruction.
One-on-one instruction allows students to pick up where they left off in their home country. Often, this is a very different place from the average American student. Additionally, individualized instruction allows the student and teacher to ensure they are communicating effectively, a step usually glazed over when a teacher is tending to a large number of students at a time.
If you are ready to begin your search for the ideal school for your international student, we hope you will take our school into consideration. Here at Tenney School, we offer top-notch, one-on-one instruction with some truly incredible teachers.
Want to learn more? Please contact us today!