Use of "First Semester Education" to identify and tackle the transitional challenges faced by Indian Graduate Students in the Construction department

Dhaval Gajjar, Kenneth Sullivan, Jacob Shizuo Kashiwagi, Joshua Jason Mischung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Over the past several decades there has been a major influx of international graduate students into the United States from many countries, especially from India. Though possessing an undergraduate degree from India, many Indian students enter a US construction graduate program with little to no exposure to the expectations and culture of the US higher education system. For these students, the transition to the education system in the United States has to be usually be made within a four week period after arrival into the US. This short period of time can present some challenges for Indian students to acclimate to a new national culture and a new education system, in addition to gaining an understanding of the differences in construction lexicon, techniques, regulatory environment, and teaching methods between India and the US. This paper focuses on identifying and analyzing the transition challenges faced by Indian graduate students in a large US construction graduate degree program. The study surveyed and interviewed thirty-four (34) Indian graduate students in the department. It was identified that language barriers, different construction terms, not knowing the proper culture norms for interacting with the faculty, and feeling of inferiority or "second class citizenship" were the major transition difficulties. In addition to an analysis of challenges, this paper also presents solutions and recommendations for "first semester education" construction-specific actions that will help US construction graduate degree programs increase the probability of success of their Indian graduate students in graduating and help them become a better construction professional in the US or whichever country the choose to realize their careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Seattle, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2015Jun 17 2015


Other2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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