President Martha E. Pollack ran through a laundry list of ongoing initiatives at the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly on Monday, including efforts to improve mental health, provide more assistance for international students and students with disabilities, and increase diversity of both the undergraduate and graduate student bodies.
With droves of students scoring internships and jobs for the summer, many international students have not reported the same amount of luck. While they may have equally competitive resumes and transcripts as domestic students, the lack of guidance on how to secure work visa sponsorships from employers has been one of the major obstacles for their job search.
Lidia Mandava ’20 has returned home just once since she came to Cornell. Arzu Mammadova ’20 — who speaks four languages — struggled sometimes in her first-year writing seminar. Georgia Makris ’20 and AbdulRahman Al-Mana ’20 both described missing out on their changing hometowns. All these students are either the only, or one of a handful, student to ever attend Cornell from their home countries.
Prior to coming to the United States for university, I regarded the American Dream as a far-fetched ideal that had little to do with my personal life. Taking part in Ellis Island role-play simulations in middle school and reading about Willy Loman’s despairs in Death of a Salesman made me aware of the disillusionment associated with the so-called land of opportunity. While I was able to appreciate the sentiments and discussions that revolved around this ideology that has shaped much of the U.S., I saw it as a distant concept as a non-immigrant foreign student expecting to leave the country after my student visa expires. But over the past two and a half years, I, too, have developed my own American Dream. Lively discussions across campus about social mobility and success have ignited a desire to work hard to improve my circumstances, who I am and who I strive to become.
Prior to moving to Dubai, UAE in the middle of High School, I never really thought about what it means to be Asian. Even though the 325 million Americans tend to place the 4.4 billion people on the Asian continent altogether under one group as “Asians,” I could clearly sense that I was an East Asian minority in a country where the vast majority of the people were Middle Eastern or South Asian. I’ve also naturally been in a part of an international community throughout most of my life and was never forced to regard myself as different. Yes, I thought that I was international in that I strive to be a global citizen, but not in the sense of being foreign or someone “other” than the majority. Here in the U.S., I have become increasingly exposed to the different identities one can embrace.
The University Assembly passed a resolution requesting all 12 colleges to review their academic departments to identify majors that might qualify for STEM certification — a certification that would grant international students two additional years of work authorization in the United States.
ByChristopher Schott, Akhilesh Issur, Shivang Tayal, Dean Xu, Chiara Benitez, Binoy Jhaveri & Robin Wang |
International students are integral to Cornell’s campus, mission and values. There is no denying the value and diversity that their presence brings to this campus. Yet international students face many unique barriers at Cornell and are often treated as second-class students. They are the only group subjected to need-aware admissions following the administration’s decision to terminate need-blind policy a couple of years ago. They are the only constituency ineligible to re-apply for financial aid under any circumstances.