The Vermont Connection


Deeply personal challenges confront all new students when they arrive at their college or university. Some of their core questions include: “Are we part of things; do we belong; are we central or marginal? Do we make a difference; do others care about us and make us feel we matter?” (Schlossberg, 1989, p. 6). For international students who may be marginalized by race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic background or language, these questions can be particularly painful. This article recommends a new foundation for working with international students: mattering. It provides a theoretical background for the constructs of marginalization and mattering, examines their relevancy in the context of the experiences of international students, and begins to define strategies for colleges and universities to make international students feel that they do indeed matter.