Pathway Reflection

Pathway Reflection

For international students who come from Asian countries and are enrolled in the U.S. universities, learning could be both enjoyable and challenging since there are big differences between Eastern and Western academic cultures. As a postgraduate student from China, I felt a little bit frustrating when struggling with schoolwork and language problems during the first semester. Fortunately, things became much better in the spring semester, and I also found some ways for international students to make an effective learning and get prepared for graduate study.


Adjust learning style

During studying in China, I used to listen to lectures, take notes, and accept what teacher said but didn’t do practice of critical thinking very frequently. However, critical thinking is a crucial part of learning in American academic culture. When preparing for the Multidisciplinary Colloquium Project for EAP class, we learned how to search for literature references and make connections among various sources. And when having in-class discussions and debate, there should be enough data or evidence for a hypothesis to make it credible. Besides, the pathway program helped me to think through multi-disciplines as well. I aim in finding a job in the overlap area between architecture and management field. After 10month study at INTO Mason University, I am getting used to think about management issues from an architecture student’s perspective, and find there are still lot work to do in order to be successful in my early career.


Study with friends

In undergraduate school in China, our grades mainly depend on attendance and the final exam, seldom do we take quiz every week. But here in the U.S., every single test and assignment work for the overall grades. Thus, to get a higher grade, we should be careful with every piece of schoolwork. However, it is possible for us to get stressful keep working hard through a whole semester. Then studying with friends seems to be a good idea, at least it works for me. Although I didn’t study with group partners in undergraduate school, but during the first semester on INTO Accounting program, I often met friends at the Gateway library and spent a whole afternoon working for assignments. Before exams, we quizzed each other as well to check whether we were familiar with a certain chapter on the textbook. I also see a group of students sit around and study together in the lobby of INTO Mason University Hall.


Say “I don’t’ know”

In traditional Asian culture, being uncertain about something shows a lack of self-confidence and could be regarded as being “unfriendly”. For example, when someone is being asked a question that he or she does not know for sure, it’s usually better to give an answer than directly saying “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know”, even the answer itself is not one-hundred percent correct. However, I find it is normal to show my uncertainty about questions in American campus. When taking EAP 507 classes, we were encouraged to answer questions actively and coming up with new questions in class. Professors were glad to ask our questions about class content especially questions for academic writing, and they also said “Sorry, I don’t know” when there should be more discussion on some questions. Thus, as students, we were inspired to open our mind and do our own research instead of waiting for an answer.


graduate pathway writing handbooks:

EAP-506 Writing Project

PROV-502 Reflection Journals

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