Tokyo Metropolitan University provides a tutoring system for international students in their first year of enrollment at the university. When studying side by side with Japanese students, international students may face various difficulties including language problems. Under this system, tutors assist international students with their studies and provide help with and advice on learning Japanese and the practical and psychological aspects of living in Japan. As a general rule, tutors are graduate students (sometimes themselves international students), whose studies are related to the majors of the students they tutor, and who are selected based on their professors’ recommendations. Students may act as tutors for a maximum of 16 hours per month. This means an average of two or three hours, once or twice a week. As a rule tutoring sessions are held on campus, and cannot take place when the university is not operating (Sundays, national holidays, and long vacations.) Students who tutor international students are paid a fixed stipend per quarter.
Support for tutors
International Affairs Office provides support for the tutors who in turn provide support to international students. First of all, there is a Tutor Orientation shortly after the tutors have been assigned. This includes an explanation of the tutoring system and the details of stipend payment procedures. After this, the international student’s academic advisor meets with the student and his or her tutor together. At this three-person meeting, the advisor gives advice on how to maximize the benefits of the tutoring system. In cases where the tutor is at a loss about how to proceed, it is possible to make use of the International Student Counseling Room. There are also irregularly held social get-togethers for tutors, which tutors are advised to attend so as to get to know each other and exchange information. To the Administrative Office of the International Center, the ideal tutor is one that assists an international student so he or she can lead life independently in Japan, not one that boosts academic results or “takes care of” the international student. What we would like tutors to do is help international students get the assistance they need from the appropriate source, from Academic Writing Support in the case of reports and papers, from Japanese language courses when seeking to improve Japanese skills, from the International Student Counseling Room when faced with miscellaneous difficulties, and so on.