International Café

Join us for a series of workshops that tackle some of the difficulties of writing and using English as a non-native speaker. Learn something, chat with other international students, and enjoy refreshments several Friday afternoons this term at the Writing Center.

International Café meets most months during fall and spring terms. Past International Café sessions include topics like these: Tips for Using Commas, Periods, and Semicolons; Writing Effective Sentences; All about Paraphrasing; and Going with the Flow: Using Transitions and Anticipating Readers' Reactions to Make Your Own Writing Flow More Smoothly; "What Does My Professor Want? Interpreting Writing Assignments"; "The Heart of Reading: Understanding Difficult Texts with Success"; "Crossing the Divide: Writing in L1 and L2"; "The Right Right Word."

If you have samples of your writing or assignments that we can use in a session, please bring them with you.

If you would like to be notified of our events, send an email to

Have questions? Contact International Café coordinator Sam Pittman.

Fall 2017 Sessions

All sessions are on Fridays from 3:30 to 4:30

September 15: “Goals and Expectations: Understanding Your Writing Assignments”

When you receive a writing assignment from your instructor, you may find yourself unsure of what your instructor is looking for, or even frightened by how much is expected of you. What kind of paper does your instructor want? Are you being asked to summarize, interpret, discuss, make connections, argue—or all of these? What if your instructor uses long lists of questions to prompt your writing—which do you answer, and how? If you have been given a writing assignment that you don’t yet understand, bring it with you to discuss as we learn techniques for interpreting your writing assignments. Facilitated by Sam Pittman.

September 29: “The Devil’s in the Details”

Why do western academics value minute, particular details in writing?  How does a writer craft effective details? Where are they best placed in a composition? How are they best integrated with the big, general ideas that they support? Come to this hands-on workshop to practice identifying powerful details in an essay, to integrate them into your own prose, and to discover the impact they have on your readers. Facilitated by Marylou Gramm.

October 13: “The More You Know: Building Vocabulary to Strengthen Your Writing”

Do you struggle to know which vocabulary words to use when writing your assignments successfully and fluently? During this session of the Writer's Cafe, we will read several short pieces of published writing, and generate useful lists of vocabulary words and phrases that relate directly to the actions and relationships within each piece.  This vocabulary will help us to begin writing about these readings in more authentic and successful ways. You’ll leave with vocabulary-building strategies that you can take to your other writing assignments. Facilitated by Laura Waxman.

November 17: “Using Quotations to Generate Ideas”


Facilitated by Sam Pittman.