This paper describes three initiatives to target our library's outreach efforts through better understanding the challenges faced by our international students. We first convened a research advisory focus group of international graduate students to hear first-hand the type of specific support students were seeking in their programs. The majority of our graduate students are African, a group severely underrepresented in library literature regarding instruction and services. Letting students speak in their own words and tell their own stories reveals not only their preconceptions about academic success in the United States but their experiential ability to identify the gaps which present so high a risk to retention and graduation. We then broadened the participant base to include undergraduate international students to solicit qualitative responses with the goal of understanding how the cultural background, educational expectations, and research process differ domestically and abroad; challenges that our international learners face using academic libraries in the United States; and the problems posed by working on complex material in English. Finally, all international students were invited to participate in a pilot workshop on academic writing. The paper concludes by describing how strategies for serving international students through instruction and outreach have resulted in internationalizing our services for all students.
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Doucette, Wendy C.. 2019. Culture Matters: Three Initiatives to Understand International Students’ Academic Needs and Expectations. Tennessee Libraries. Vol.69(1). https://www.tnla.org/page/69_1_Doucette