On May 3 Voice of America and George Washington University teamed up to hold a town hall targeted for international students. The town hall, titled Education Destination: USA, was held at George Washington University and streamed live internationally. It discussed some of the challenges and opportunities facing international students.
The town hall also included a panel of experts from George Washington University, Stanford University, Michigan State University, Brigham Young University, American University and Johns Hopkins University.
The hall gave foreign students in the United States and those interested in studying at a U.S. college a chance to ask the panel questions directly. For those that could not attend, there was the option to ask questions through digital platforms such as Facebook.
The panel made some key points regarding the recent changes in immigrant policies in America. Experts told the crowd that international students add value to American society. “I truly believe that international students bring such value and enrichment to this country and to our institutions,” said Sam Brown, director of international scholars and services at Brigham Young University.
When a Chinese Student in the audience asked what universities were going to do about the travel ban and xenophobia, James Dorsett, director of international students and scholars at Michigan State University said that the university administrations want to maintain “a welcoming environment” for students. He referenced the #YouAreWelcomeHere video and campaign aimed at promoting inclusion for international students. When a student from Indonesia asked if she would be able to wear a hijab or head covering at US schools, Brown stated that most campuses have a prayer room and “places where students can go and participate in their religion.”
Other questions asked involved college tuition, scholarships and jobs. It’s great to have a discussion like this because international students are not familiar with the American education system. Some are also worried about not being welcomed or accepted as can be understood from some of the questions asked at the hall. This is a chance for them to get clarification and learn about the benefits of studying in America.
To watch the full 90-minute broadcast, watch the video below.