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International students benefit from volunteering experiences

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 17:02

Jonesboro has another name in many students’ mind, Jones-boring.

There aren’t many activities outside in Jonesboro outside of school.  
The shopping experience is limited and the local restaurants aren’t very exciting or entertaining.

For the most part the nightlife around Jonesboro consists of sleeping due to the lack of a viable party scene.

Many students do not recognize that volunteering can be an exciting aspect for discovery in this small, pretty and peaceful city.

Volunteering is one of the best ways to help a community’s development.

Volunteering is also an easy way to connect with other students outside of classes.

Students have a chance to make new friends, talk and chat with people, and to relax after tons of homework.

On top of these great opportunities international students who volunteer have many unique benefits.

Volunteering can help them to learn about America and gives them a chance to compare American culture with their own. They have a chance to communicate with domestic students and better understand some American behaviors.

ESL (English as a Second Language) students can quickly improve their English in a short time.

With all of these benefits why don’t we see more students volunteering?
Different cultures are the biggest barrier for international students to involve in the community.

International students are worried that since they do not understand all of the norms in America that they may act inappropriately.

Some are also shy because they’re not fluent enough in English to communicate clearly.

On top of these detractors, many international students do not know how to get involved.

I came to study at ASU from Vietnam in June of 2011. At the beginning, I worried about communicating with Americans because of the culture barriers.

I was very shy in the first semester, since I was not confident in my English.

I wanted to join in activities to make my college life better and more interesting, but I did not know how.

After reading the Daily Digest email I found some helpful information about volunteering.

I contacted Jodie Cherry, the supervisor of Volunteer ASU, whenever she had volunteering activities.

After volunteering I became so much more confident in myself as an international student.

I had a chance to learn more about American culture and made new friends while just being myself.  
This newfound confidence allowed me to work as one of the student engagement chairs of Volunteer ASU.  
Now I try to encourage more students by going to ESL classes and introducing Volunteer ASU to them.

I know the benefits that volunteering can bring to students, especially international students.  
Volunteer ASU has several upcoming activities for both domestic and international students.

We had a Volunteer Fair on February 6 but you can still volunteer if you missed it.

We would love to see you at the Polar Bear Plunge on February 22, and Relay for Life event on March 8.

      Let’s change Jones-boring to Jones-beautiful, and enjoy the benefits of volunteering.



Rosey Nguyen is a sophomore accounting major of Vietnam.

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1 comments Log in to Comment

lgjhere
Fri Feb 8 2013 12:43
Help comes to international students from many avenues if they will search them out. An interesting new book/ebook that helps those coming to the US is "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more." It paints a revealing picture of America for those who will benefit from a better understanding, including international students. Endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a new culture, friendship process and classroom differences they will encounter, all of the above that Rosey talks abou.
Many of our foreign students stay here after graduation. It has four chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to get a job, a must for those who will work for an American firm or with a foreign firm in the US environment. It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
Here's a quote from the book: "Chinese Americans were asked their thoughts about their experience in America. Most were graduate students who had to adjust to a new country and who experienced language and cultural problems. Their answers give general insight to the overall foreign-student experience in America. Two-thirds ranked these as the three biggest impediments to their career advancement in the U.S., major topics that are all addressed in this book.
1.Deficient English as a second language.
2.Lack of know-how to break into American social circles.
3.Lack of business understanding and training.
"Interestingly, despite problems encountered here, almost six out of ten wished they had come earlier, and a third wanted to become U.S. citizens and remain here. Asked to define the biggest reward they received by coming to the U.S., the top reward, as one might expect, was mastering English and seeing the world. However, the next reward was "getting to be myself regardless of other people's opinions." This response points out one of the major differences between our two cultures." Good luck to all students.

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