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.

Spring 2018 Sessions

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

January 26: Proof Positive: Quick Proofreading and Editing Strategies

Facilitator: Sam Pittman

How can you become a better editor of your own work while you’re writing? What strategies can you use to proofread your own writing once you’ve already produced a draft? At this International Café, we’ll learn and apply specific strategies for editing and proofreading, and learn the difference between the two. We’ll also address some of the most common language troubles International Students face in their writing.

You are encouraged to come with a paragraph of your own in-progress writing to work on your independent editing and proofreading skills.


February 23: Apply Yourself: Writing Resumes and Cover Letters

Facilitator: Tom Aspell  

If you’re applying for graduate school, a job, or an internship, you will probably have to submit a resume and cover letter. But what do employers and admissions committees expect in these documents? What writing strategies will help you produce a stellar application? Come to this interactive International Café to build your professional writing skills.


March 16: Koloc Awards

Facilitator: Marylou Gramm

Come to celebrate the winners of the Koloc Awards for writing by international students! Winners will read from their work.


March 30: Quoting and Paraphrasing with Style

Facilitator: Rachel McTernan

Have you ever thought that the quotes you’ve incorporated into your paper sounded strange alongside your own writing? Were you ever unsure if you were paraphrasing or plagiarizing a text you read? This session focuses on strategies for quoting and paraphrasing texts—how to choose quotes that support your ideas, how to smoothly blend another author’s words with your own, and how to paraphrase others’ ideas in your own “voice”.

Please bring a piece of your writing in order to apply “quoting and paraphrasing with style” to your own projects.


April 13: Paint Me a Picture: Writing Descriptively

Facilitator: Laura Waxman 

What’s the difference between saying the city around you is “chaotic” instead of “filled with the constant purr of car engines and the occasional screech of sirens”? In both academic and creative writing, we often must describe what we see, and what we think about what we see. At this International Café, participants will learn tips and tricks for writing descriptively to convey their meaning to readers precisely and style.