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1/ Spack studied the integration of ‘Yuko’ over 3 years as she adapted to the needs of an American university. Yuko had a TOEFL score of 640 (more than IELTS 7.0), which is higher than the entry requirements for virtually every UK university, she had also spent one year at an American high school as an exchange student. She was determined to succeed and was attracted by American educational methods.
2/ In her first year she did not complete some courses and had several difficulties: for example she was not able to read quickly enough, was unused to writing long assignments, and had little experience of independent learning.
In discussion groups she was intimidated by native-speakers, took a long time to formulate her contributions. She partly attributed her difficulties to a lack of background knowledge in areas such as American history.
4/ In the third year her confidence developed, she collaborated better with other students, was selective in her reading, was more confident to be critical of readings, and noticed that the other students sometimes did not understand. ‘I used to open some reading and the printed words used to scare me and that doesn’t happen anymore.’