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Translating Success

Shyam Sharma

This is a web-based participatory action research for the study of academic transition of international students. Using an interacting platform, it provides current and former international students the opportunity to share their experience of academic transition and success. The number of international students arriving in the US now exceeds three quarters of a million; their academic and social backgrounds are becoming much more diverse; and emerging technologies making their English language proficiency and familiarity with US academic culture harder to predict. The research method used by this study is designed to address these complexities better than conventional methods typically do when they treat even the extremely varied/complex demographics of international students as a “group” and its members as “subjects” rather than epistemological and change agents. By sharing their stories of struggle and success, international students are not only able to capture the complexity of their experience but also tackle the challenges while doing so. My work is to facilitate “participation” of members who take “action” toward addressing the challenges through sharing their experience; I also add a new dimension to the project by inviting experts and researchers to share their ideas, thus blurring the boundary between participants and experts. The project’s website is www.translatingsuccess.org. I am starting to build the critical mass that the project will require as a research database, but it has already started serving as a resource for international students across the US. The site has reached about five thousand views, with about four dozen original stories and as many comments from international students. I would truly appreciate if you could please share the idea and the link with any international students and those who serve or research issues about them.

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