Q & A With Breaking New Reporter —Samantha Stainburn

Foreign Students at US is an article to intorduce the increasing of the international students in the US in the GlobalPost, and it wrote by Samantha Stainburn. Samantha is a writer for breaking news in New York.

Samantha Stainburn on Tweeter: @SamStainburn

1.    How long have you been an education reporter?

I’ve been a reporter since 1994, and an education reporter since 1999, when I got a job at Teacher Magazine, a national magazine for K-12 teachers published by Education Week. I became a freelance writer in 2004, and since then, I’ve written about education for the US News & World Report college guides, the New York Times Education Life section, Crain’s Chicago Business and GlobalPost.com.

2.    What are the reasons that you would like to be education reporter?

 People assume that going to school today is exactly like it was when they were students, but the educational experience is constantly changing. I like exposing programs that are wasting money as well as shining light on new ideas or people that are making education better. 

 3.    How do you find some topics that you are going to talk about normally?

I almost always get assigned my article topics by the editors at the magazines and newspapers I write for.

4.    Which facts that you think are most important to be an education reporter?

Being able to read reports and understand statistics is important. The US federal government and colleges and school districts generate a lot of data – like admissions data, test scores, completion rates – and you have to be able to tell your readers what it means. Very often, studying and comparing statistics gives you ideas for articles.

5.    What is the most difficult part to be a education reporter?

School officials don’t want bad publicity about problems like racism on campus, teachers’ complaints, budget cuts and failing students, but often those are the issues we need to investigate. You need permission from K-12 districts and principals and college officials to visit their schools, and when you visit, officials often try to show you only what’s working. Frequently, they want to sit in on your interviews with teachers and students. It can be challenging to get teachers and officials to tell you the real story on the record because no one wants to get in trouble with the higher-ups. I would say colleges tend to be more open than K-12 schools and districts.

6.    Do you have any moment that you can never forget when you are doing the education reporter? Why?

I always enjoy interviewing students, who are usually very honest about what they love and what they dislike.

7.    Why would you like to choose the interventional students as a topic to talk about?

International students are a growing presence on US campuses, and it’s important to write about the trends. Also, my father worked for the United Nations when I was growing up, and I lived in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. I was an international student myself in other countries, and I had international student friends when I went to university in the US and Canada, so I have a personal interest in the subject.

8.    In your article, you said during 2012, there are more international students came to the USA, do you have any ides about this? You think it will have a positive or negative effect for the USA? Why? (Any parts, such as education, economic, or other parts)

 One reason we’re seeing more international students in the US is because societies outside of the US are becoming wealthier, and more middle and upper class families in Asia and Africa and Latin America can afford to send their children to American universities.

Also, as more time goes by, citizens in formerly colonized countries like India have less connection to the European powers that once controlled them – and where they traditionally would go to study – and so are choosing to go to college in the US instead.

Finally, US universities are marketing and publicizing their programs to international students more than ever before because international students often pay more (full tuition versus in-state tuition, on-campus housing versus living at home) than American students.

I think the more international students American students meet, the better informed they are, so in general, the growing number of international students on campus is positive.

 9.    What are reasons do you think that there are so many international students would like to came to USA?

Life in the US, as seen in TV and movies, looks pretty good, especially for young people!

There are really great things about the US that you don’t always find in other countries – extreme freedom of speech, more tolerance or legal protection of some groups, like LGBT students, and that unique, entrepreneurial, ‘can-do’ American spirit.

The US also offers a different kind of education at the college level than other countries do – you’re not expected to specialize right away, but explore lots of subjects. Even engineering and business and medical students are encouraged to do cross-disciplinary studies – art classes for engineers, acting or psychology classes for business students, and business classes for medical students – to promote creative problem-solving skills.

 10.What advices that you would give to those international students just came to the USA?

* Part of the US college experience is making American friends, so don’t just hang out with other international students. The best way to make friends is to sign up for an activity or a class that you truly enjoy – hip hop club, a painting class, volunteering – that has nothing to do with your nationality. Or meet US students interested in your culture by offering to tutor students studying your language.

* Even if you want to stay, you can’t assume you’re going to get a long-term US work visa after you graduate, so think about how you can make your US degree work for you if or when you return to your home country. For example, ask your college to introduce you to alumni who work at local or global companies there.

* If you need to, you’ll never have a better opportunity to perfect your English than now, so put in the extra work. Take a grammar course in the English Dept., get tutoring on your accent, go to the Writing Center for coaching on your papers and learn the way people really speak.

About Linhan Yang

A Chinese student at the University of Oregon.
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