This course is designed to help prepare international students for college-level study at universities (uni) in the United States. The course is instructor led and meets in Blacksburg VA USA, twice per week for 1.5 hours on Tuesday and Thursday. Class size is limited to 15 students.

Dates: Rolling
Cost: $1200 (24 hours of instruction)
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Location: Blacksburg, Virginia USA

Garvin Building
1872 Pratt Drive, Suite 1050
Blacksburg VA 24060

Academic Transitions – Course Agenda


International students planning to study in the United States will be faced with new courses, new and unfamiliar situations, systems, and expectations, and will be a long way away from their usual coping and support systems such as family and friends.

Recognizing that support needs for international students differ from national students, this course addresses American and academic culture, the English language, and culture shock. It is intended to aide students in reducing stress, increasing academic skills, and enhancing campus and community life.


  • How to Read a Syllabus
    The course syllabus is an extremely valuable, but underused too. All professors will write and use their syllabi differently. This session will show you what the key elements are and what you should be looking for.
  • Time Management
    As a non-native English speaker, it will most certainly take you extra time to complete each assignment. Managing your time effectively will be critical to your overall success. While there are many time management tips and tools, this session will demonstrate this skill using the David Allen GTD Method.
  • Taking Notes
    Listening to the lecture “Culture Shock: How to Recognize It and Deal With It,” you will learn that taking good notes in class is critical to your success.
  • SQ3R Method
    Using the article: “Common Stressors for International Students” we will learn how to study from text and nonfiction material using the SQ3R method.
  • Plagiarism
    What is it and how do I avoid it? Using the classic children’s story “Green Eggs and Ham,” by Dr. Seuss, as a research reference tool, we will learn how to recognize and avoid plagiarism and the ramifications that come with it.
  • Culture Gap
    Bridging Generational and International Gaps – Learn to communicate up, down, and across the generations on campus.
  • Writing the “American Academic” Way
    An introduction to the basics of academic writing conventions for students who are new to American colleges and universities.
  • How to Take a Test
    Many smart students do not do well on exams. This session will teach you strategies for each of the different types of exams and exam questions.
  • Group Projects
    Tips for being a good teammate and successfully surviving a group assignment.
  • Presentations/Public Speaking (2 sessions)
    How good are you at making a presentation? Your presentation skills are equally as important as the material you present. Learn how to prepare presentation material and what makes a great public speaker. You will give a presentation.
  • Final Exam
    A lot of material will be covered in this course. The final exam is how you learn whether you’ve understood it all and can put it into practice!

Register today! Class size is limited to 15 students.

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About Your TOEFL Instructor

Beth Parker, certified TEFL and TOEFL instructor

Beth Parker, certified TOEFL instructorBeth Parker has lived overseas in Sydney, Australia, Copenhagen, Denmark and Shanghai, China. She has traveled extensively and is currently studying Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

She understands what it is like to live in a different country and struggle to speak a foreign language, as well as what it feels like to experience culture shock.

Beth has taught English as a Second Language for 9 years. Her teaching experience ranges from youth, as young as nine years old, through sophomore-year college students and business people.

She has taught non-native English speakers TOEFL skills, conversational English, academic writing, cultural understanding and topics from creative writing to professionalism and ethics.  She is TEFL certified by i-to-i  Love TEFL, an ODL/QC internationally accredited organization for teaching English abroad.