Journalism Class to Release Second Book

Posted on: December 3, 2013

Cultural-Guides2-FeatureWith a record number of international students entering the United States each year, School of Journalism faculty member Joe Grimm and his class have published a guide they hope will help these students with the transition of coming to the United States.

The second book in the series of cultural competence guides produced by Visiting Editor in Residence Grimm and the students in his Bias Busters class will be released at the Office of International Students and Scholars coffee hour Friday, Dec. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. in McDonel Hall's lower-level lounge.

"This guide is by American students at MSU and it is written for international students," Grimm said. "It can be confusing to come to school in America, yet more and more people do it every year. We're trying to help with that."

According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), international students now make up almost 4 percent of total student enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities and contribute about $24 billion to the U.S. economy.

The IIE's 2013 Open Doors Report shows that during the 2012-13 academic school year, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities increased by 55,000, or 7 percent, to a record of 819,644, marking the seventh year in a row that number has grown.

There are now 40 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than a decade ago, and the rate of increase has risen steadily for the past three years, according to the IIE.

The second guide in the cultural competence series, titled "100 Questions & Answers About Americans," aims to create stronger communities by using journalism to increase knowledge and understanding. It was funded by a grant from MSU's Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

"Our goal in this series is to use journalism to replace bias and stereotypes with information and to encourage conversation among people," Grimm said.

For the guide, Grimm's class interviewed about 50 students from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America.

Some of the questions the international students gave include:

  • Why do Americans speak English with so many accents?
  • How can I learn American slang?
  • Why do so many people in America have guns?
  • Why is racism such an issue in America?
  • When should I tip and how much should I leave?
  • What is included in a date?"

Besides the 100 questions and answers, the book also includes a guide to American slang and idioms. Some of the terms and expressions international students asked about include:

  • "How's it going?"
  • Tailgating
  • "Hooking up"
  • "For here, or to go?"

The first book in the series, titled "100 Questions and Answers About Indian Americans," was released in May 2013.

The guides are available in paperback as well as a variety of digital formats, including Nook, Kindle and e-books. Copies can be ordered through Amazon.

Grimm also said he hopes to sell the guides not just to MSU but to other institutions as a resource for their international students.

The third book in the series, which will focus on Hispanics and Latinos, will be released in the spring of 2014.

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