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Supporting international students

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Cultural Awareness Training

Supporting International Students Kirsty Carver Subject Librarian for Engineering University of Bradford


15% from over 150 different countriesDiverse environmentImportant students feel welcome and valuedChina / Nigeria / Romania / India


"Culture shock" describes the impact of moving from a familiar culture to one which is unfamiliar. It is an experience described by people who have travelled abroad to work, live or study; it can be felt to a certain extent even when abroad on holiday. It can affect anyone, including international students. It includes the shock of a new environment, meeting lots of new people and learning the ways of a different country. It also includes the shock of being separated from the important people in your life, maybe family, friends, colleagues, teachers: people you would normally talk to at times of uncertainty, people who give you support and guidance. When familiar sights, sounds, smells or tastes are no longer there you can miss them very much. If you are tired and jet-lagged when you arrive small things can be upsetting and out of all proportion to their real significance.

(UKCISA, 2016)Culture Shock


Culture ShockClimateFoodLanguageDressSocial RolesRules of behaviourValues


Stages of adjustmentUKCISA Adapted from Orientated for Success, edited by M Barker, Australian International Development Assistance Bureau, 1990.Honeymoon






Library Context

From your experience what do students find difficult when they first arrive in your library?

Work in groups and please write it on post it note


Some things I have discoveredChinese students want to buy all their own text books more likely to but a copy and share with friends

Some students find it very difficult to ask for help Plagiarism, independent learning etc teaching and learning may be very different

Students think you have to pay to use the library and misunderstand librarians talking about fines in library inductions


Jargon buster Library language

Collaborate with others in your institution e.g. language centre

Dedicated place on website - useful resources study skills/ inductions for international students

Cultural Awareness training

Dedicated Inductions

Opportunity you may have to travel and visit other libraries

How do we make it easier?


ConclusionNew student from school library to collegeGeneral library to specialist libraryInternational student to British UniversityReturning mature student

ALL experience similar daunting feelings

Have empathySmile!

THANK YOU for participating and listening! Any questions please get in touch [email protected]


References and ResourcesResources

Stella Cottrell Study skills in ChineseUK CISA Council for International Student Affairs DVD Library Services for International Students (2008)


UKCISA UK Council for International Student Affairs (2016) (Accessed 24/5/2016)


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