The best way to know about the finer points of the Global Academic Advantage program is by asking our talented and dedicated staff. They have the answers to your questions, and they want to make your experience as rewarding as possible.
Dr. Amy Gooden is an expert in intercultural education, and she’s taught faculty how to meet the needs of international students. She serves as Academic Director of the Global Academic Advantage program, as well as Assistant Professor of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Bilingual Education at Lesley University.
On the personal side: Her mother’s family emigrated from Portugal, and her father’s family came from French-speaking Canada. As an undergraduate, Dr. Gooden studied at the University of Granada, in Spain, so she’s familiar with the challenges and rewards of adapting to a new culture.
Fun fact: She studied flamenco with gypsies in Spain and lived with indigenous people in Costa Rica.
Question: How might my experience in the U.S. be different from university in my country?
Answer: Education in the U.S. is primarily based on “active learning” and critical thinking. You’ll be expected to participate, ask critical questions, and share your opinions in class and through the papers you write. In many other countries, the teacher is the authority, and you would show respect by listening and taking careful notes. The emphasis is on memorizing facts.
When international students come to the U.S., they can find it challenging on several levels: the language, the course content, and the classroom culture. With the Global Academic Advantage program, we’ve identified strategies for teaching you all three at the same time.
Q: What will I gain from the First Year Seminar?
A: You’ll learn about cultural values and beliefs. We’ll talk about communication styles and expectations in different cultures. We’re not saying that one cultural perspective is better than another, we’re saying, “Here are the different cultural perspectives on this topic, and here are the underlying principles that affect how people behave.” On a practical level, this course will help you integrate into the academic community of the university.
Q: How will I get to know American culture outside the classroom?
A: In the Whole Student Experience course, you will get to know American culture through field trips and cultural and historic site visits, and through interactions with Americans outside of the academic environment. So you’ll develop not only your academic English but also your social English and an awareness of the cultural context.
Q: What can I contribute as an international student at Lesley?
A: You bring a unique perspective that enhances the learning of all our students. The world is more interconnected than ever, and we welcome students from diverse backgrounds and points of view in our classrooms. All students benefit from learning the cross-cultural communication skills necessary in this 21st-century, globalized economy.
Q: What will my professors be like?
A: Our faculty are experts in their fields and many of them graduated from top universities like Harvard and Yale. They’re also very approachable: Their office doors are always open. Our faculty would be delighted to meet with you, and you’ll also see them around campus. Lesley provides a personal touch, because of the small class sizes, the intimate campus architecture, and the friendly relationships between faculty and students.
Curious about the Global Academic Program or about studying in the U.S.? Email us your questions and we’ll be glad to find the answers!