Sunday, October 21

USAC office proposes international student representative position

A USAC office proposed adding an international student representative position to the council. (Daily Bruin file photo)

A USAC office proposed adding an international student representative position to the council. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The original version of this article stated that majority vote is required to create an international student representative position. In fact, two-thirds vote is required.

An undergraduate student government office proposed Nov. 18 to add an international student representative position to the council, in an effort to better represent international students’ interests.

Aaliya Khan, an Undergraduate Students Association Council general representative, organized a town hall on Nov. 16 with the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars, or DCISS. At the event, international students discussed what they called a lack of representation on campus.

The students at the town hall said it was difficult to fund programming for international student events because the student government was not involved enough, Khan said. International students at the town hall suggested adding another representative position in an attempt to increase representation.

In 2014, students elected the first transfer student representative to the council, whose office aims to address concerns and provide resources for transfer students on campus.

Khan added she thinks creating an international student representative on USAC would diversify the council because not all council members support each student subcommunity equally.

She said she thinks the council should function more as a senate system, with representatives from major student groups represented in the student government, to ensure all student voices are represented.

“(The senate system) would allow cultural groups, South and North campus groups and the academic community to be recognized,” she said.

Victoria Shehovtsova, an international third-year business economics student, said she thinks international students should have more resources for finding jobs and internships because it can be difficult to do so as an international student. She added she is not guaranteed a work visa after she graduates.

“There are many issues international students face (because) they are in a different position than American students when it comes to internships and jobs,” she said.

Shehovtsova said she knows there are many student career workshops and informational emails from departments and professors, but international students don’t have access to as many opportunities as U.S. citizens.

“I wanted to gain job experience here in America before returning to Russia,” she said. “It’s hard, (but) USAC can offer us information that would help us (with resources).”

Yuntian Yang, an international third-year materials engineering student, said he thinks USAC’s involvement with international students would help them access more opportunities on campus.

“(An international student representative) would share some of the same experiences and be able to represent my interests better,” he said.

Yang added he thinks establishing an international student representative on the council will increase communication between international students and other student groups such as transfer students.

Other students said they don’t think a representative for international students would be beneficial in providing resources. Mena Lin, a fourth-year Japanese student, said information for international students is already accessible through club fairs and events.

Khan said she will speak with staff members from her office to decide whether to pursue creating an international student representative position. In order to create the seat, the council would have to add the proposal to the ballot for next year’s election, and the student body would have to render a two-thirds vote to create the position.

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  • Lance

    This is a positive shift because being an
    international student isn’t easy, given our complex culture and language.
    Assistance must come from numerous sources to aid these young people embarking
    on life’s journey. A new award-winning worldwide book/ebook that helps anyone
    coming to the US is “What Foreigners
    Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American
    Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” It is used in
    foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors,
    educators, and editors. It also identifies “foreigners” who became successful
    in the US and how they contributed to our society, including students.

    A chapter on education explains how to be
    accepted to an American university and cope with a confusing new culture,
    friendship process and daunting classroom differences. Some stay after
    graduation. It has chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to
    get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to
    work with/for an American firm here or overseas.

    It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and
    speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the
    number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.

    Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments,
    immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow
    students, and informative books like this to extend a cultural helping hand so
    we all have a win-win situation. Good luck to all wherever you study!

  • Joe Bruin

    Just an FYI, the student body would have to approve the position with a 2/3 vote, not a majority. 66% is a lot more votes than 51%.

  • Benjamin Gelbart

    I have a really good idea! Why not give the locals more opportunities to go to UC schools instead of balancing the budget with international students.