Importance of effective communication skills for international student and in fact for everyone should be very high. The average number of international students studying in different parts of the world are mostly aware of the English language. Though there are a majority of international students who still cannot perfectly communicate in English. There are again a lot of reasons for this.
One of the most common issues faced by them includes the culture of that area, the Accent spoken by natives. Day by day people have started using abbreviations, acronyms, jargon, etc. which makes the language, even more, harder. Again as mentioned earlier there are a lot of barriers affecting the communication of international students. In US, itself there are about 1.9 million international students who have contributed $42.4 billion to the U.S economy through tuition, room and board, and other expenses, according to the U.S Department of Commerce, indirectly becoming a tremendous asset to the “United States“.
Tips for Effective Communication Skills for Students:
Listen: International students often develop a “Script” in their mind more like a story that they would like to convey to you before they enter your office or even engage in a conversation with you. Allow them to get through the script just so they feel that you have heard whatever they wanted to say. This could be difficult if the script is long. But there are no alternatives to this, to have effective communication with the student you will have to be patient throughout the script (message) they have made for you.
Limit: One should limit the use of acronyms, abbreviations, colloquialisms, jargon, and idioms when speaking or writing to an international student, even if English is their first language. The use of the words mentioned above might lead to an ineffective way of communication. Terms like “ASAP” or “on target” or “all set” are all U.S culture-based and may have little meaning. International students lack effective communication due to one of these reasons. One cannot expect an international student to be comfortable speaking the language which they are simply not used to.
Cultural Difference: Certain emotions and behaviour’s (both yours and other person ) can be signals of the cultural differences which are at play when you are interacting with someone from a different country. Inappropriate responses, Repetition of words and actions, taking offence, frustration, etc. are all considered as major cultural differences between the two people.
For e.g. (nodding continuously when clearly understanding nothing at all, abrupt answers, awkward laughter, etc.) these indicators should be taken seriously in regards with a non-effective communication.
Tips for Effective Communication:
One of the first things which come to mind in any kind of communication is the level of understanding. It is understanding which is going to be the judge of how effective the communication was. Now to have a better level of understanding one should know more than just the name of the other person. As to establish an effective communication one needs to be in touch with the person’s thoughts as well as the current state of mind so that the message can be modified according to the situation.
Understanding: Once you have been taken through the script (message) of the other person, you shall take time and understand the meaning or purpose behind the message. After having understood what the person is trying to say, you can give the person a thumbs up or a positive nod as an acknowledgement of the situation. Or if you were the one to initiate the conversation then ask them to explain it in their own words. As the explanation comes to end you could simply ask them “Do you understand what I told you”? For this, the person could answer with a “yes” or a “no” resulting in a proper understanding and an end to the conversation.
Help: International students understand U.S customs and how the “things work here”, but never, in any case, try and pressure them to change their behaviour or viewpoints. Unless the change is necessary for academic or their social success or to avoid serious conflict. One of the priorities for the international students is to get comfortable wherever they are. If they are forced to become someone else then the result shall not be very pleasing. As they will feel discomfort which will indirectly result in a non-effective conversation with them. So if your goal is to have a proper communication then don’t at all force them to be someone who they are not.
Names: Saying the names of the international student correctly creates a homely sense inside them. Do not expect the student to adopt a nickname because the people around him cannot say their name. This will make the student comfortable and also make him feel welcomed.
Also, take time to understand the individual’s history, countries of origin, culture also language if you can. Every tiny effort which you put in will be rewarded over the period of time which you share with this international individual.
Students may not have an understanding of the relationship between them and their advisor or vice versa. Differences of culture as well as communication wall can make it challenging for both student and advisor. One of the best ways to help the advisor relationship is to develop an advising syllabus or a syllabus according to the international student.
Improve Communication Skills by:
Communication is the basic life-saving skill which can help you adjust almost anywhere in the world. And we can say that it is really one of the most important skills to develop, particularly for those who are not native English. So here are some steps as a student which you can initiate to have an effective communication:
Confidence is the key to a successful life. If you continue to think of yourself as an outsider or a foreigner then this journey won’t get you anything apart from your degree. As we all know that communication is a two-way process, so one needs to be a good listener even if they happen to be a good speaker. To understand the message clearly one has to be a good listener. Confidence comes when you are comfortable and to get comfortable you need to own your surroundings.
Connect: Initiating conversations is definitely a tough task to pull off especially when you are around people belonging to different backgrounds. But hey! You are all here to study and associate, So, finding regular grounds isn’t that huge of an assignment. in the beginning, you can avoid topics like Clerical and constitutional to stay far from getting into any possible clash.
Be a good listener, turn on your observation skills and focus yourself on what the person is delivering to you. Learn to listen, this shows people how eager you are to know more about what’s being communicated. Pay attention to the body language of the communicator as body language constitutes a major part of effective communication method. Eye contact is a must as well.
Communication is undoubtedly one of the most effective skills that you can cultivate for better. Effective communication skills are important to success in many aspects of life. Many career jobs require solid communication skills. Improving your communication skills will definitely pay off.
Max Troy is the Career Counsellor as well as a passionate Author. Well, he has years of experience in the Career and Jobs industry. As a part of his career at OPTnation, he helped various OPT and CPT candidates to shape their Career. Through his knowledge and writing skill, he is contributing to the students to find the best Career advice and immigration topics. Do share the information if you like it.