So… There hasn’t been a lot of information around about the International Student Representative candidates. As I am an international student and I truly believe that international students should have a stronger voice on campus, I contacted each of the candidates with a list of questions about being the representatives. Unfortunately, only three of the four candidates have replied.
Still, I have chosen 3 answers for each them and I hope they help you decide who to vote for!!
1. Which, would you say, is the role of the International Student Seat and representative? The role of the International Student Seat and the representative who holds this position is to be the of the international student body, voicing their concerns and ideas to the AMS board. Though this seat is a non-voting position, it is an important role to take on, for UBC has thousands of international students who are entitled to fair and equal access to their student government.
2. What is your stance on the proposed 4% increase in international tuition? Do you agree? Why/why not? As a student who has taken out all of her loans in her own name and looks forward to nothing more than coming out of university with a hefty $80,000 debt, I am no fan of increasing the cost of my studies here. However, though I would rather tuition rates stay at or below their current levels, I understand the university’s desire to raise them. The 4% increase has been laid out by the university as a means to adjust for the Higher Education Price Index of international students, expand International student entrance scholarship funds, increase work-learn (often the international student’s only option for earning wages while in Canada), and expand emergency financial aid for foreign students. This small increase ($27.07 per credit, or about $800 a year) will help to open up more financial opportunities to students than it will to hinder them. The approximate $3200 additional cost to a price tag already in the tens of thousands is barely discernible in the long-term. So in sum, I don’t like that it needs to be done, but if the additional revenue is spent responsibly and allocated where it has been said it will be allocated then yes, I support the tuition increase.
3. What is the biggest challenge of the international community here at UBC and what will you do to address it? I believe the biggest challenge of the international community is a lack of involvement. I know that within the various faculties there are a myriad of “International students of [insert faculty/school]” groups, but given the vast number of international students attending UBC compared to the membership numbers of each respective group, you see a very small percentage of active student participants. I will say it right here, I myself am not a member of the International Student Association, for before this year I felt that to simply go with the flow of things was sufficient. I didn’t even know we had an international student representative on the AMS board! This is coming from a student who is actively involved in both academics and athletics- not exactly living under a rock! This is what, if elected UBC’s international student representative, I will seek to change. I will make sure that international students KNOW that they have a representative on the board, make myself open and be held accountable to these students.
1. Considering that the International Student Rep. does not have a vote in the AMS council, how will you advocate for international students’ opinions? Given that we are only over 10% of the student population and the position that I am running for is a non-voting position, it looks hard to address the concerns that we all care about. However, as a commerce student I have my own ways to make our voice heard. As Adam Smith said everyone plays for his own interest, my job is to coordinate those different interests. For example, if we international students are facing a serious problem which may harm our rights I might not address it in the concern of our own rights, but address it as to benefit all the students. When we find the common interests, things are easy to solve. Also, as a commerce student, I can relatively easily find the value behind some issues. As I have addressed in the second question, when we add value or discover the value of one thing, it is worth doing!
2. What past experience do you have with international students at UBC? On one hand I have numerous experience with international students because I am an international student and a lot of my friends are also international students. We have ran into thousands of problems in the past half year and we have been through them. I know, there are still much for us to be through. On the other hand, I don’t have much experience with international students because I only attended GALA orientation and no more official events. However if you have some problem long time ago will you still remember it or care about it? According to psychology, humans’ memory is selective, it chose to make beautiful memories more beautiful and painful memories less painful. Thus only when you are experiencing, in other word, when you are going to meet problems, you will try you best to overcome them. If you have already passed them, I don’t think you will treat them seriously. So I think this is my advantage!
3. Will you work with other student groups in UBC? If yes, which ones? Yes, groups like International Business Club, International house, International Peer Program and a lot more……
Se Won An
1. What past experience do you have with international students at UBC? Since this is my first year at UBC and I am still on the 2nd term of the school year, I do not have a lot of experience with international students at UBC. To be honest, I was not really involved in campus activities last term for several personal reasons. (Hint: I was sick twice and struggled a lot throughout the term!) I know more domestic students than international students for some reason. HOWEVER, I would love to get to know many of them via this opportunity.
2. What is your stance on the proposed 4% increase in international tuition? Do you agree? Why/why not? I firmly disagree with the proposed increase in international tuition. I am well aware that the current tuition is excessively expensive compare to domestic students. Probably many students (or their families) who come to UBC are wealthy enough to afford tuitions every year. On the other hand, the high rate of tuition indeed hampers many intellegent students from receiving a high, well-qualified education at UBC. Unfortunately, we do not have a variety of scholarships, financial aid opportunities (excluding student loan); even those scholarships we have in our school, the amount that each student can recieve with a high GPA is very limited. Moreover, I think even Work Learn opportunities are restricted as well, since I remember it was not offered for some on-campus job, but only to Work Study for domestic students. Since most of international students are coming from other parts of countries and do not have a family in Canada or BC, they have to also concern about housing, food, and living fee. These financial bundens affect many current international students, including myself and my family, and will affect prospective students who want to persue education in UBC.
3. Why should I vote for you? Because, I will put a lot of effort in improving the international students’ concerns and issues by addressing and letting the rest of school know about them. I will be always work close to them and try my best to get to know many international students as possible. I will make this year the best one ever for them! So vote Say One for International Student Rep. Oopps, my name is Se Won, so don’t be confused.