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Peer-Reviewed Article
ISSN: 2162-3104 Print/ ISSN: 2166-3750 Online
Volume 4, Issue 1 (2014), pp. 16-33
© Journal of International Students

Challenges Facing Asian International
Graduate Students in the US: Pedagogical Considerations in
Higher Education

Shu-Yuan Lin, EdD
Susan Day Scherz, EdD
Idaho State University (USA)


Non-Native English Speaking (NNES) international students attending colleges and universities in the United States often encounter difficulties in adjusting to their new cultural environment. In addition, they often struggle with academic language while learning the content and conceptual structures of various graduate level disciplines. This phenomenological study identified cultural and linguistic challenges experienced by NNES Asian international graduate students at a mediumsized rural university in the northwestern United States. A pedagogical framework and recommendations for professional practice address the linguistic, cultural, and academic needs of this particular student population in higher education.

Keywords: cultural challenges, cultural responsiveness, international students, learner-centered approach, linguistic challenges, scaffolding

The number of international students in the United States in 2008-2009 reached an all-time high of
671,616, reflecting an eight percent increase in student enrollment (Institute of International Education [IIE], 2009). In particular, Asian students represented 62% of the international student population (Kim, 2012). These numbers reflect an unprecedented and significant trend of mobility and migration, as well as an increase in cultural and linguistic diversity within higher education (Altbach, 2004; Carroll & Ryan, 2005; Kim, 2012). According to Al-Sharideh and Goe (1989), international students in the United...

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