As graduate students grow closer to filing for a vote, international graduate students work to maintain their voice in the fight for unionization, sharing the struggles they face while studying in the United States at a panel hosted by Cornell Graduate Students United.
“Although I’ve told them that things are better than they seem, [my parents] are seriously re-considering whether they should send my sister to the United States for her undergraduate degree next year,” he said.
Last spring, the Cornell economics department decided to discontinue access to Curricular Practical Training work authorization for international students in the major. This decision will force international students to get Optional Practical Training visas in order to pursue summer internships and independent studies. The policy change not only makes it much harder for international students to intern over the summer, but also jeopardizes their chances of finding jobs in the U.S. after graduation. For many international students, seeking internships and jobs is already hard enough. After graduation, they must make a tough decision between pursuing and paying for a graduate degree and attempting the daunting task of obtaining an H-1B temporary work visa.