How to Run a Supportive International Study Group at JCU

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Running a study group is a great way to find support at school. With a group to lean on and bond with, your courses can seem lighter. An international group of people with different backgrounds and experiences is particularly beneficial. With more bases of knowledge to draw from, your group members can complement each other and help one another out to fill in the blanks. There’s no better feeling than helping another student with a subject, only to have the favor returned in an area you find tricky. Read on to learn how to run an international study group that is supportive, positive, and effective!

How to Choose Group Members to Study for Success

Prioritize choosing a group with a variety of skills, strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This way you can help each other and lift one another up in weaker areas. Choosing group members based on friendship isn’t always an effective way to study. You may even want to go outside of your social circle and ask professors for suggestions, as a way to meet new people. Universities in Italy are great places to find others who are looking to delve into their studies and experience as much as they can in life.

A small group of 3-4 students works well. More than that may mean that people have a hard time getting their voices heard. If you have more people interested, you can always form two study groups.

Once you’ve formed your team with diverse skills and strengths, give each person a responsibility for each session. For example, you may break down a topic into smaller parts and give each person the task of summarizing their part for the group.

A small group often works best when running a study group – even pairs are a great idea!

A small group often works best when running a study group – even pairs are a great idea!

Tips for Organizing your Study Group’s Agenda

Many study groups use a rotating facilitator, so that each member has a turn being in charge of the agenda and keeping an eye on the clock. This balances the workload and keeps everyone on track. It’s a great way to run a study group while you study abroad at JCU.

Reviewing notes at the beginning of your session helps everyone get on the same page. You may have missed a thing or two that another member didn’t, or vice versa. A discussion question is a great way to focus in on a topic. In an international, multi-faceted group, you’ll have the advantage of multiple perspectives on the question.

Breaks should be scheduled so that everyone can stay focused without interruptions. Anticipate questions or loose threads by allocating fifteen minutes for a wrap-up at the end. This gives the group time to clear up confusing areas.

Scheduled breaks can make it easier to focus during the session

Scheduled breaks can make it easier to focus during the session

How to Set Rules for Your Group

Rules help any group function. Making expectations and responsibilities clear to every group member will not only lessen confusion, but it will also ensure that everyone gets as much as they can out of the study group. If a rule is that everyone must bring one discussion question to each meeting, you’re more likely to have material to work with.

Rules such as not speaking when someone else is talking and trying to contribute to the conversation are good ways to maintain harmony and respect. A committed study group needs a foundation of respectful rules and boundaries, so that people are comfortable.

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