I am working at a university in Europe. We have a great number of exchange students (one semester, year, of multiple years). I am having difficulties reaching some of these exchange students, especially, it seems, but not limited to those from non-Western cultures (e.g. China and India). Treating them in the same way that I would treat native Western students is proving ineffective. I am looking for ways to improve my teaching strategies to better serve these exchange students, and especially those from Asian cultures.
Here are some of the things that I would like help with:
I am having trouble getting them to attend class. Sometimes it seems that presence at classes and labs causes them some tremendous pain.
They have complaints about the too high difficulty of the courses.
They often prefer to communicate via email. It is very difficult to elicit interaction from them during class or lab.
Communication is sometimes difficult, and when I ask them how I might best help them, some invisible barrier prevents me from discovering a solution.
Note: Although some of these problems are endemic to exchange students (such as a focus on things besides class), the alignment of this, cultural barriers and language barriers are causing me an especially difficult time reaching out to students from Asian cultures.
Thus, I am especially interested in strategies for improving the following metrics for my Asian exchange students:
engagement with me outside of class
engagement in person, rather than via email.
class performance (grades)
My sample size ~100 of those students in two years. It is not a big sample at all (including my cognitive biases as well). However, it seems that my poor results at improving the outcomes for my exchange students are not unique to me, as my colleagues report a similar experience.
What are some strategies to improve my teaching impact for Indian and Chinese exchange students? This includes improving class attendance, engagement with class and with me, and class performance.
In what ways are their educational systems and culture at home significantly different from those in Europe?
Note: I know that "Asia" is an extremely large place with a lot of strongly different countries, so feel free to limit your answer on India and/or China.
As I state before, there are common problems in the population of exchange students in general. It seems that they are coming for different reasons than study (finding new friends, experimenting with new drugs, investigate different culture ...). However, I am capable of recognizing and dealing with the popular strategies of Western exchange students: finding ways to abuse rules for their profit, etc.
Unfortunately, my strategies for improving outcomes with Western exchange students are proving ineffective for my Indian and Chinese students. I do not really understand their behavior. My questions are mainly about how to gain a greater understanding of their behavior so that I can make all-around improvements to our teacher-student relationship.
Day after edit
According to the excessive number of comments (all of them interesting I have to say), I need to make this clear. I am not saying they are not good students at their universities or in general. I am just unable to work with them in the same effective way as with the local students. So I would like to know the origins of this ineffectively and I would like to utilize different approaches of education to reach their potential (for their benefits).
Stating that they are "awesome students" (at their home) and I am "an ignorant teacher" does not help. I already know this.