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 writecen@pitt.edu.

Have questions? Contact International Café coordinator Sam Pittman.

Fall 2019 Sessions

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

What Did You Just Say?

Laura Waxman   Sept 20

College writing courses often begin by assigning essays that ask writers to evaluate their own personal experiences.  Have you ever used quotes from friends, family and from yourself to enliven your first-person writing?  

This session of the International Café will offer tips for using the language you hear every day to create successful essays.  When should we quote others?  What makes for interesting and memorable quoted dialogue?  We will focus on both grammar and voice as we write and workshop quotes.

Go with the Flow

Sam Pittman   Oct 4

Have you received feedback from your instructor telling you that your paragraph or essay needed more “flow”? “Flow” in writing usually refers to the smooth and clear movement from one idea to the next. But how can we achieve good flow when we sit down to write or revise? This Café session will provide students useful strategies in syntax and organization for making sure your writing flows from beginning to end. Students will practice identifying flow in writing, and will try their hand at writing a paragraph with different kinds of flow.  

Journaling Your Way to Writing Success

Rachel McTernan  Oct 18

You might find that your instructor gives you a writing assignment, and you have no idea how to start. Or maybe you feel you don’t have enough practice writing, only opening up a document when your teacher asks you, but not quite finding confidence in your writing. 

In this International Café, students will learn about effective informal journaling strategies that can be incorporated into anyone’s regular writing practice. Students will discuss models for journaling, and practice writing a journal entry that can help them move toward successful writing. **Students who participate in this Café will be offered written feedback from the facilitator, handed back at our Nov. 1 session.**

Witches and Skeletons: New Context, New Style

Lynne Sunderman  Nov 1

On Halloween, you might dress up like a witch, but a few days later on Día de los Muertos(Day of the Dead), you’re more likely to see people with their faces painted like skeletons.  Each celebration calls for a slightly different style. And the same goes for writing.

In this spooky International Café, students will discuss and practice changing their writing style to fit different contexts and assignments. You might be writing about the same topic, but in one context you need to be very direct, and in another you want to use humor to convey your message. Come to this Café to practice changing up your costume in writing!