Class discussion and the courage to speak up…

Speaking up in class discussions is somehow challenging for some people especially for international students. Being an international student, I personally feel this pain and I think some other foreign students might share the same feeling. Why? Among the class of all American students, I am the only one international student. What if I say something wrong? What if the professor does not understand my English and ask me to explain my opinions again? What if my classmates judge my answer when they may know the topic better than me given their longer working experiences? I need a little more time to organize my ideas before giving the valid answer, but when I am ready to answer, other students have already answered…I had these thoughts in the first few weeks of transition to the master program at IU. Should I continue staying on the safe side- saying nothing even though I might have lots of points in my mind :) Here is what I think after several first weeks of  “adaptation” ;)

Very often, we don’t speak up because we worry of being judged. But actually, there is nothing wrong with our point of view. The fact that you are an international student make you very unique…You might see problems from different prospectives and people really expect you to share your own thoughts no mater what. Also, you never know it could be the right answer. As long as you tried, the answer might be right. We all come to class to learn in the end. We learn from professors and we learn from each other. Most important, we are all equal and we are all IU student no matter where we are from.  And active participation in class help yourself learn a lot too. So, it is totally fine if you don’t think you want to contribute your ideas when you are not ready enough. For those who want to push yourself a little bit in class discussions, please feel free to speak up :)