Welcome to the International Student Path
The International Graduate Student Pathway was created by Véronique Roberts. Véronique brings a wealth of information to this pathway as she herself was an international student and remembers well her own difficulties as she became oriented to the Canadian culture as well as the university higher education system. Reflecting on this challenging experience, Véronique recalls her own experiences trying to figure out where to go for information to help her in her decision making process. This background from her own lived experience provides valuable guidance to the new international student.
According to unofficial statistics from the International Bureau, international students represent about 10% of overall enrolled students with a community of approximately 4750 international students. In terms of percentages, 24% of students are in their first year of undergraduate study, and 10% in their first year of graduate study. Approximately half of the international students at the University of Ottawa come from Asia and Africa and are faced with language as well as cultural barriers. The self-directed Virtual Mentoring office will provide an extra tool to supplement and support their current knowledge as well as provide them with a better understanding on how to access and implement a self-reflective learning for greater academic success. Through the resources in the Virtual Mentoring Office and the University of Ottawa website, students can have access to the whole university community online, connecting them to specific organizations that will enable them to work on their academic self-directed learning skills.
Exercise 1: Finding Your Voice – Improving Oral Communication
Oral Communication is an important part of your graduate student experience, both in small groups and when giving presentations, however, it is a language skill that can be difficult to practice and master if the language of instruction and discussion is not your first. At the University of Ottawa there are some resources to help you further develop your oral communication skills.
Useful Resources at the University of Ottawa:
- Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute
This includes the OLBI Mentoring Centre, where students can sign up for conversation workshops, as well as the Julien Couture Resource Centre where students can access a variety of materials to assist in their language development.
- International Student Success Centre (ISSC)
The International Student Success Centre, as part of the International Office at the University of Ottawa provides a variety of support services, invluding information on academic life and learning strategies.
- Toastmasters International – University of Ottawa Club
Another venue to practice and develop oral communication skills is a local Toastmasters Club. Further information on the University of Ottawa club can be found on the University of Ottawa Toastmasters website.
Exercise 2: Written Communication
Think about the resources available at the two sites below. At this point in your introduction to university services, which appeal to you? Imagine offering the information at these links to a colleague, how would you describe what the resources and what you have learned from them?
Exercise 3: Developing Arguments
Argument Framework Toolkit:
The following handouts may be of use as you develop the argumentation of your papers and assignments.
In addition, as a practical exercise, create a journal in English or French and as your progress in your semester, go back to the journal and review your previous entries and self-analyse your written work. Create your own “toolkit” with those keys elements. You can use them to benchmark your written work and use it on past papers/assignments.
Exercise 4: Let’s Practice Critical Thinking
In a graduate program, many assignments ask students to move beyond summarization of material and description of research articles. Many students find it difficult to make the shift into the area we call critical thinking. This is a fundamental skill required for all graduate students, yet it is not acquired easily. In this exercise you have the opportunity to think about how you can set yourself up to acquire this skill.
In this exercise we us a K-W-L Chart to assess what we know and what we still want or need to learn. As part of your critical thinking and self-reflection process, use this method and review your academic work either on a weekly or monthly basis for each of your courses. You can create three columns on a sheet of paper in your journal as demonstrated below.
|What do you Know about the topic?||What do you Want to know?||What did you Learn?|