Provide Practical Advice

Provide Practical Advice

Provide Practical Advice: 

International students are often from entirely different backgrounds and cultures than American students. With this in mind, its important to have patience with international students when they run into predicaments. Below are some common issues that might come up while you are working with international students. Addressing these issues before they escalate will be beneficial to the student as well as yourself.

Emergency Numbers: 

Provide a list of emergency numbers to your international students, and make it clear to which party each number connects. For example, some international students may think that 9-1-1 will automatically direct them to an ambulance service in a medical emergency, but in reality, the police may respond to the call instead of a medical team. 

Kitchen Fan Use: 

Place signs in each kitchen that remind students to turn on the fan when cooking. Many international students may not know that using a fan while cooking is a safety precaution, and many will want to cook food from their country in their rooms. 

Temperature Range: 

Inform international students that a safe temperature range for their thermostat is between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature in many countries is measured in Celsius, so international students may struggle with their thermostat. Placing a small conversion chart above the thermostats in the appropriate rooms is also helpful. 

Food Delivery: 

Provide a list of the places that will deliver food to the living centers, and also what a common tip for the delivery person is. Some international students may not be aware of the need to tip a delivery person. Let them know the average percentage for a tip. Also, remind them that if they are using a credit or debit card to pay for the food, they should give the card number over the phone when ordering and that the tip can be included when paying this way. 

Bottle Deposits: 

Educate international students about what waste can be returned, recycled, or thrown away. Bottle deposits are not common in other countries, so having conversations about recycling will be very helpful. Also, create appropriate signs on your floor and make recycle bins handy. You will not only be helping the international students, but all of the students in your building and GVSU as a whole. 


Inform international students that stamps may be purchased and letters may be mailed at the GVSU bookstore. Let your international students know of this process ahead of time so that if they end up needing to mail something, they wont experience unnecessary stress.

Page last modified July 17, 2017