Challenges for International Students: the staff-student relationship

In a series: The International Student Experience
1 Theme 4 Topics View

Will Hutton and international students discuss the challenges they face adjusting to a new staff-student relationship.

Transcript of ‘Challenges for International Students: the Staff-Student Relationship’

“Other significant differences are in terms of the relationship between students and staff. This can be very different in home countries: for example it may well be that there’s a very deferential relationship back home, where students are expected to stand up when members of staff enter the room, or where they are expected to use ‘sir’, ‘ma’am’, or ‘miss’ when they talk to members of staff. In contrast the norm in the UK, which is to use first names and to have a fairly casual relationship, often quite a friendly relationship with staff members, can again be slightly confusing and take time to get used to for students, and some of them find it a bit uncomfortable and that will be something that you need to be aware of.

One of the things that I want to say is in Bangladesh usually we respect our teachers, we call them Sir or you know, Ma’am, stuff like that. But here like, the first day that I came to class, I think I was in Elsissa’s class, or … I called one of my teachers Lisa, ‘Ma’am’, I know that I’m not …. but you know like in Bangladesh, we Asian people, we usually respect our teacher, by you know, calling them Sir, Ma’am, we never call them with their names, never. So I think [That’s a big difference.] Yes, of course. Like, we especially in Bangladesh, we respect the teacher in such a way that we respect our parents, so we never, you know, while talking with the teacher, we never sit down or, you know, giving some negative attitude, we usually stand up and we talk very decently with our teacher.”