Universities and colleges seek to help all students succeed. However, foreign graduate students experience a different set of challenges than domestic students. Culture shock and writing in a foreign language are just a few examples that threaten their overall success. This qualitative participatory action research study describes and explains how two graduate students and a faculty mentor engaged in mentoring and structured reflective writing activities designed to address these challenges. The research data include a focus group interview, analysis of selected journal pages and conference presentations. Results indicate that reflective journal writing and mentoring help foreign graduate students de‐stress, learn the tacit knowledge of the academy and participate in scholarly activities like conference presentations and publishing.