Thriving as an International Graduate Student (IGS) in U.S. Universities

  • Fally Maambuka-Kanchewa (Iowa State University)
  • Shuyang Qu (Iowa State University)


International Graduate Students (IGS) face a lot of challenges acclimatizing and adjusting in U.S. universities. The challenges range from cultural, social, economic, and academic. For example, writing and speaking in the English language is often a struggle among IGS, which limits their ability to interact with their peers and instructors inside and outside the classroom. Furthermore, IGS face emotional stress due to homesickness and financial-related challenges. Therefore, for IGS to thrive, they need a lot of support. Part of the support may come from their peers (other IGS or domestic students) and their advisors and instructors. However, such support may not be easily and readily available or accessible, requiring them to be intentional in seeking such support. Unfortunately, not all IGS are confident and courageous enough to seek such support. In this presentation, we share some of the strategies used by IGS to seek support. These strategies include building learning communities and initiating conversations with instructors and advisors about their academic backgrounds and career goals. In addition, engaging in extra-curricular activities such as joining clubs and associations has been known to be instrumental in widening the IGS's network.



Published on
03 Mar 2023