Another Kind of Assistantships and Lessons for International Graduate Students

Yes, our group introduced different kinds of graduate assistantships this week, whether teaching or researching, dealing with students or faculties. As an international graduate student, it’s not easy to get an full-time GA position before you actually enter this program. Obviously, choosing an international student as a graduate assistant before you meet he or she in person is taking a risk, as we have language barriers and cultural differences, which means we need to learn much more than American students and adapt to the totally strange environment.

Myself, a then non-journalsim major international student, didn’t have the ability or skills to get a GA position in journalism. However, luckily, I got a remission package which including a full tuition waiver and a 10-hour-per-week part-time job as a student worker in J school. Almost all the international students in our program got or will get this kind of remission package.

So, let talk about this 10-hour-per-week work that most international student did or will do. I am working for Professor Lois Raimondo, the Shott Chair of Journalism, who teaches photojournalism classes and does researches on Asian (especially Japanese and Chinese) photography (my background can contribute to this work). My job is collecting information about Japanese photographers (last semester) and Chinese photographers (this semester), which is the “research” part, covering classes for her when she is out of town, which is the “deal-with-students” part and the library part as ordering, borrowing and returning books and DVDs for her.

I believe it might fit all the Chinese students in our program that this job is an easier way for us to understand the “flow” of the assistantships and adapt to the American college life and also we can provide some help to J school. Personally, it also offers me a new world that I never saw before with the amazing photos, creative thoughts and different people, although I had some hard time during this year.

Studying and working in another country is not easy but worthy. Once you dare to start, you are half done.

Here are the tips for whoever want to study abroad or work abroad (whether for international students here or Americans who want to work in another country):

1. Respect other and their culture, and others will also respect you and your culture. That is the fastest way to adapt to the environment and will not make yourself at least unhappy.

2. Always ask for help when you have troubles. I believe most local people can understand your situation and are willing to help according to my experience. Trying to learn their language is a must to live in a strange environment.

3. Be nice. It’s good for them and also for yourself. That’s also why people are willing to help you out.

3. Find your community. When you are homesick, especially during the festival season, your community is like your home and your compatriots are your family.

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3 thoughts on “Another Kind of Assistantships and Lessons for International Graduate Students

  1. greerhughes says:

    I think you offer some great advice for international students here, Anan. I was an international student when I studied my entire undergrad in Australia, and the little difficulties are often overlooked by local students. I was lucky enough to study in a country with English as their first language, so I can’t even imagine the troubles you probably encounter on a daily basis. Finding a community is the best way to feel comfortable. It took me a while to find mine, but when I did I came out of my shell and got the most out of my experience.

    • Anan Wan says:

      Yep, it’s lucky and also a good enough experience to study abroad in a country where the people speak your mother tongue. Actually, I don’t think language is the biggest problem for me. The cultures and customs are the biggest ones, especially the different styles of teaching and learning as I replied in your post “Yo, teach!”. I always have a hard time when I try to express my ideas, as Chinese are taught to speak less and do more. We also are afraid of making mistakes. Finding a community is quite easy for me because of the large amount of Chinese students in WVU. I got a lot of help from the Chinese students’ associations here.

  2. […] I mentioned in my post last week that for those who want to study abroad or work in another country, finding your community is a […]

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