Peer Assisted Study Sessions to Facilitate Transition for International Students

By Lisa Schmidt and Julia Miller.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Commencing university as an international student involves adjustment to multiple cultural frameworks: the host-nation culture, the multicultural student cohort, the institutional culture of the university, and the disciplinary culture of the area of study. Host-nation students may already possess much of this cultural knowledge and share learning spaces with international students but the two groups do not necessarily interact. We felt that these issues could be addressed using Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS). PASS employs established, high-achieving students to facilitate study sessions for new students. In PASS, the facilitator acts as a model student, rather than as a teacher, as the group works through the study material together. This format provides a structured, discipline-based forum for interaction in a non-threatening, non-assessed context. In this project, Australian third year bachelor students acted as PASS facilitators for new international masters students, leading study session activities focussed on scientific communication skills. The results from this project provide insight into how peer interaction can facilitate transition to a new academic culture for international students.

Keywords: University, International Student, Transition, Peer Assisted Study, Student centred, Australia

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp.13-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.212MB).

Dr. Lisa Schmidt

Lecturer in Biotechnology, Medical Biotechnology, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Dr. Lisa Schmidt is a lecturer in the Biotechnology programme at Flinders University with scientific expertise in Medical Biotechnology. She is involved in the delivery of topics to undergraduate and Masters students. Part of her role is to arrange orientation activities for new international students and to assist them with their transition to studying in Australia.

Julia Miller

Lecturer in Academic Skills and ESL, PhD Researcher in ESL and Lexicography, Student Learning Centre, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Julia’s background is in Romance languages and TESOL. Her current research interests include pedagogical lexicography and English idioms (the subject of her ongoing PhD); anglicisms in modern European Portuguese; the English article system; and the teaching of English prepositions to non-native speakers of English. She has also produced a DVD on academic oral presentation skills and recently published her first novel. She is currently employed in the Student Learning Centre at Flinders University in Australia, where she is a lecturer in academic skills and ESL.


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