Tuesday, February 18

Amendment for international student representative passes with 81 percent of vote

Kayla He, current general representative 2, and Ashraf Beshay, an independent candidate for president, celebrate after the referendum's victory is announced. Advocates for the international student representative argued the position would help bring more attention to international student issues on campus. (Farida Saleh/Daily Bruin)

A new position to represent international students in undergraduate student government was passed Friday.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council Election Board announced Friday the international student representative referendum passed by a vote of 5,131 to 1,218. International student leaders advocated for the position, arguing the representative could meet with administrators and discuss issues specific to international students.

Kayla He, the current general representative 2 and the referendum campaign manager, said the position’s focus is to provide support to international students transitioning to UCLA. The future representative will help international students by helping them navigate language barriers and finances, as well as the mental stigma many international students face.

He said she thinks that by voting to create the new position, UCLA students acknowledge international students’ needs.

“They can finally find a home at UCLA,” she said.

He added she thinks the new position will not increase student fees or impact USAC’s finances. However, He said international students in the general representative office and members of other campaigns and the International Student Leadership Coalition will help write the bylaws and finalize the terms of the new position.

“We are going to ask people to see what their thoughts are,” He said. “(The responsibilities) will depend on next year’s election and people running for the position.”

He said the most difficult part of campaigning was seeing how indifferent people were to the referendum.

“Sometimes when you are flyering you see people who don’t care (but), international students are people who deserve to find a home,” she said.

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  • Lance

    This is wonderful news because being an international student away from home for the first time is difficult, compounded by our complex culture and language problems. Welcoming and assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources, including the White House, to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand.
    Something that might help anyone coming to the US is the award-winning worldwide book/ebook “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies how “foreigners” have become successful in the US, including students.
    Available in the UCLA bookstore, it explains how to cope with a confusing new culture and friendship process, and daunting classroom differences. It explains 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 identifies 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.
    Good luck to all at UCLA or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who shout the loudest! Supporters of int’l students must shout louder.