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First-Year International Students

International students, especially non-native English speakers, come from cultural and educational backgrounds that are different from those of most Richmond students, and that can mean they have different advising needs as well. Below are some general tips that we hope you will find useful in advising these students on adjustment, course selection, and meeting academic requirements.

Course Selection

Correspond with your advisees before their arrival at UR. Be certain the student understands that you are available to offer personal assistance.

Review the student's proposed course schedule to ensure a balanced distribution. It is recommended that international students take 4 units in their first semester at UR, and no more than 5 units per semester in their first year. International students sometimes plan to focus only on major courses, even during first year. Be certain to explain general education and electives.

Campus Life

Explain to students the unique characteristics of the liberal arts approach to education. Encourage them to explore a variety of courses and interests. Refer them to colleagues in other academic departments where appropriate.

Encourage them to take courses in American history and culture and to visit important cultural and historical sites in Virginia and the United States.

Where possible, involve them in teaching or research projects that you or your colleagues are doing.

Connect them with other faculty, staff, or students who are from their home country or region.

Academic and Cultural Adjustment

Refer students who need English language assistance to the Writing Center or the Director of ESL Services, Nuray Grove. Refer students who need assistance with test-taking, note-taking, time and stress management, and tutoring in specific subjects to the Academic Skills Center. Refer students who need assistance with interview skills, oral presentations, and public appearances to the Speech Center.

Refer students to the Office of International Education, RC or WC Dean's Offices, CAPS, or the Chaplaincy for personal counseling and cultural adjustment issues.

Krittika Onsanit (, Director of International Student, Scholar & Internship Services in the Office of International Education, assists international students with immigration, employment, health insurance, cultural, practical, and academic matters.