“Foreign But Fabulous: Thriving As An International Student”
This lesson is designed to build your critical-thinking skills in English as you read, listen, and answer different types of comprehension and discussion questions.
Although these questions are related to classroom instruction, independent learners can reflect on the ideas and topic to prepare for the listening portion of the lesson.
- Brainstorming Session: In small groups or pairs, have students discuss the challenges they think international students might face when studying abroad, such as language barriers or cultural differences.
- Predictions: Ask students to read the title of the story and make predictions about the plot and themes, such as what kind of challenges the protagonist might face as a foreign student.
- Vocabulary Preview: Provide students with a list of vocabulary words from the story, such as “culture shock,” “language barriers,” or “resilience,” and have them look up the definitions before listening to the story.
- Cultural Comparison: In pairs or small groups, have students compare and contrast aspects of their culture to that of their classmates regarding food, social norms, or education.
- Research Project: Assign students to research a specific aspect of international student experiences, such as challenges faced by students from specific countries or strategies for adapting to a new culture, and present their findings to the class.
Listen and read the story and answer the questions. Key vocabulary words are marked in bold.
She was excited to start her new adventure, but little did she know that her daily schedule would be full of unexpected challenges.
Comprehension Questions: Self-Grading Quiz
Comprehension Questions in Text Format
1. What was the first challenge Yumi faced on her first day of college?
A) She missed her alarm and overslept.
B) She couldn’t understand her teacher’s accent.
C) She got lost while exploring the campus.
D) Her roommates were loud and kept her from sleeping.
2. What made Yumi apprehensive about the food in the cafeteria?
A) The bright orange color of the salad dressing.
B) The variety of food available.
C) The unfamiliar smells and flavors.
D) The lack of Japanese cuisine.
3. What did Yumi do after lunch?
A) She went to her dorm and took a nap.
B) She explored the campus.
C) She studied in the library.
D) She watched a movie.
4. What did Yumi’s roommates do that kept her from sleeping?
A) They played music and shouted loudly.
B) They watched TV with the volume too high.
C) They had a party in the room.
D) They made too much noise while studying.
5. How did Yumi feel about her college experience despite the challenges?
A) She felt frustrated and unhappy.
B) She was excited to learn and grow as a person.
C) She felt disappointed and homesick.
D) She was anxious and overwhelmed.
1. A – Yumi missed her alarm and overslept on her first morning in America.
Explanation: Yumi overslept and missed her alarm, making her late for her first class.
2. A – The bright orange color of the salad dressing.
Explanation: Yumi wasn’t used to that color of dressing.
3. B – She got lost as she explored the campus.
4. A – Yumi’s roommates were loud and kept her awake at night.
Explanation: Yumi’s roommates were blasting music and shouting loudly, making it impossible for her to get any rest.
5. B – Yumi was able to grow as a person.
Easy (Recall and Comprehend):
- What challenges did Yumi face as an international student in America?
- How did Yumi feel about the unfamiliar food in the cafeteria?
- What did Yumi do after lunch when she got lost on the campus?
Intermediate (Analyze and Interpret):
- What are some of the most common challenges that international students face when studying abroad, and how can they be addressed?
- What strategies do you think Yumi could use to prevent getting lost on campus in the future?
- What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of living in a dormitory, and how can international students make the most of their living arrangements?
Advanced (Analyze and Interpret):
- Reflect on the significance of language barriers and cultural differences in Yumi’s college experience. How do these challenges affect international students’ integration into a new educational environment?
- Analyze the role of resilience and adaptability in Yumi’s journey. How did she navigate the unexpected challenges she faced? What can other international students learn from her experiences?
- What can colleges and universities do to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for international students, particularly those who may feel isolated or homesick?
1. Discussion Circle: Have students form a circle and take turns discussing the challenges faced by international students, based on their own experiences or the story. Encourage critical thinking by asking them to consider the root causes of these challenges and potential solutions to address them.
2. Role-Playing: Divide the class into groups and assign each group a scenario that highlights a common challenge faced by international students, such as difficulty understanding a teacher’s accent. Have them role-play the scenario and brainstorm strategies to overcome the challenge.
3. Cultural Comparison: Ask students to research and compare the educational systems and cultural norms of their home countries and the United States. Encourage critical thinking by asking them to analyze the similarities and differences between these systems and consider how they may impact the college experience of international students.
4. Journaling: Ask students to keep a reflective journal throughout the semester, where they can write about their own experiences as international students, as well as their reactions to the story and class discussions. Encourage critical thinking by asking them to reflect on their own assumptions, biases, and perspectives, and consider how they may have changed over time.
5. Debate: Divide the class into groups and assign each group a contentious issue related to international education, such as the benefits and drawbacks of standardized testing or the role of technology in the classroom. Have them research and prepare arguments for both sides of the issue, and engage in a structured debate.
6. Peer Interview: Pair up students and have them interview each other about their experiences as international students. Encourage critical thinking by asking them to consider the similarities and differences between their own experiences and those of their peers, and reflect on the factors that may have contributed to these differences.
7. Creative Writing: Ask students to write a creative piece inspired by the story, such as a personal essay or a short story. Encourage critical thinking by asking them to reflect on the themes and issues raised by the story and consider how they relate to their own experiences as international students.