Published: Dec. 17, 2013

MSU ‘Bias Busters’ class pens ‘how-to’ book for international students

Contact(s): Tom Oswald Media Communications office: (517) 432-0920 cell: (517) 281-7129, Joe Grimm School of Journalism cell: (248) 631-9959

Phrases like “how’s it going?” and “for here or to go?” are pretty standard fare for American college students. But for international students, those words can be, well, foreign to them.

In an effort to help these students navigate the ways and language of America, a Michigan State University journalism class has published “100 Questions and Answers About Americans.”

Joe Grimm, a faculty member in the MSU School of Journalism whose students compiled the book, is hopeful it will help international students make the transition.

“This guide is by American students at MSU and it is written for international students,” said Grimm. “It can be confusing to come to school in America, yet more and more people do it every year. We’re trying to help with that.”

In addition to helping the students learn about American slang and popular phrases, the book also addresses a host of questions they may have about Americans. These questions range from our accents to guns and racism to tipping at a restaurant.

For the guide, Grimm’s class interviewed about 50 students from every continent in the world except for Antarctica.

According to the Institute of International Education, international students make up almost 4 percent of total student enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities.

The IIE's 2013 Open Doors Report shows that during the 2012-13 academic school year, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities increased by 55,000, or 7 percent, to a record of 819,644, marking the seventh year in a row that number has grown.

This is the second in a series of cultural competence guides Grimm and his “Bias Busters” class have published.

“Our goal in this series is to use journalism to replace bias and stereotypes with information and to encourage conversation among people,” Grimm said.

The first book in the series, titled "100 Questions and Answers About Indian Americans," was released in May 2013. The third book in the series, which will focus on Hispanics and Latinos, will be released in the spring of 2014.

This latest guide was funded by a grant from the MSU Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.


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