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 2017 Sessions

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

Friday, Jan 20: Sam Pittman, "The *Right* Right Word"

"Clever" or "astute"? "Discover" or "locate"? Many words in English have similar meanings, so choosing the word or phrase that conveys your ideas clearly and precisely can be quite a challenge. Using vocabulary that interests and engages your reader can be even tougher. Join us at this International Café to learn about creative, accurate word choice so you can feel more comfortable in selecting the *right* right word. 

Friday, Feb. 17: Katie Homar, "Effective Paraphrasing and Quoting"

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”.

Participants are encouraged to bring a piece of their writing in order to apply “quoting and paraphrasing with style” to their own projects.

Friday, March 24: Marylou Gramm, Koloc Awards

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

Friday, April 7: Sarah Leavens, "Writing on Social Media"

Are you unsure of posting on Facebook (or other platforms) either because it isn’t used in your home country or you feel self-conscious about your English phrasing? This International Café will help you learn how to use your English writing skills to create short, informal posts and familiarize you with some of the major US social media platforms, all of which you can employ to connect to the campus community and beyond.

Friday, April 14: Rachel McTernan and Sam Pittman, "Understanding and Implementing Instructor Feedback"

Picture this: Your instructor has just returned your piece of writing, and you see comments written in the margins, between the lines, or at the end. Now what? Come to this International Café to learn strategies for understanding what your instructor’s feedback means, as well as tips for revising and editing your writing based on your instructor’s comments.


Participants are encouraged to bring a piece of writing with their instructor’s comments to discuss with other students.