Teaching Assistant Programs at Michigan State University - Buddy

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ITA - Undergraduate Buddy Program

The ITA-Undergraduate Buddy Program is a cross-cultural program which is designed to provide cultural support for ITAs. The program pairs individual ITAs who have received teaching assignments with an MSU undergraduate buddy. In the 8-week program, the ITA-Buddy pairs meet once a week to explore student life at MSU and to compare it with student life at the TA's home university.

Week Activities
Week 1 Getting acquainted
Week 2 Field trip to a student residence hall. Observing and discussing where and how students live
Week 3 Visiting the buddy's place of employment. Discussing why MSU undergraduate students hold jobs while studying at MSU
Week 4 Exploring student's academic decision making -- when and how MSU undergraduates choose their major field of study, how do they decide which courses to take each semester.
Week 5 Meeting at Student Union or IM West to discuss students' extracurricular activities and recreation here and at home.
Week 6 Discussing the study habits of new MSU students and comparing them to the study habits of students in the TAs' home country.
Week 7 Observing an undergraduate class and discussing teacher-student relationships at MSU.
Week 8 Topic of choice

The Buddy Program helps make the TAs' teaching easier. By exploring undergraduate life, ITAs report that they are able to understand their own students better in the classroom. The undergraduate buddies benefit, by personal exposure to cultural differences and by the stimulating personal example of an accomplished advanced student.

About 20 pairs of buddies participate in the program each semester. The scheduling is flexible to avoid conflict with other activities. For more information please contact the Buddy Program Coordinator, Zeynep Altinsel.

Modified: 4/23/2012

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