Many international students are stepping up their efforts to bring attention to international students’ rights and needs via on-campus clubs, off-campus independent organizations and international student campaigns. And their efforts are paving the way for a better global university experience for prospective international students.
Here are three key ways current international students are making a difference.
1. On-campus international student organizations: Many global universities have on-campus international student clubs and organizations that lobby for various issues on behalf of currently enrolled and incoming international students.
Richard Tanson, senior international student and scholar adviser in the University of Virginia’s International Studies Office, says the school “is an institution known for promoting student self-governance, so student groups play a decisive role in the life of the university supporting our international community.”
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One group, the Global Student Council, was established by then-undergrad Mongolian national Batkhuu Dashnyam along with 12 other international students. Dashnyam says the council worked with the UVA administration to bring a global perspective to courses and reflect the diverse student body and faculty.
The group also worked with the admissions office to reach out to prospective applicants by visiting high schools abroad and with the university’s alumni association and engagement office “to formalize and strengthen the university’s existing international alumni network.”
At Miami University in Ohio, Ancilleno Davis, an international student from the Bahamas, recently founded Graduate Students of All Nations. Davis says the group compiles “questions, comments, concerns and suggestions from international graduate students to present at meetings or forums” with faculty and staff. The group’s accomplishments range from providing input on the hiring of a new international student adviser to reviewing the draft of the university’s statement on diversity.
Prospective international students can reach out to current international students via university webpages to learn more about the school and available support. Davis says his group can serve as a resource by connecting prospective international students with current international students and other local resources.