During our Students’ Union Elections Media Day on Saturday 24th February, we chatted to the candidates who are running to be elected as your International Officer for the 2018-19 academic year. Take a look at what they had to say.
Aanchal Rawal, a second-year Business Management student from India, is running to be your next International Officer.
“It’s my enthusiasm, definitely, that makes me stand out,” says Aanchal. Her enthusiasm keeps her busy. Aanchal is the vice president of the Business Management and Leadership society, and a member of several society and hall committees.
She already has experience representing international students: “In my first year, I was an international representative for Newark Hall. I represented over 400 residents in the SU as part of the JCR committee […] I want to take that forward and make Nottingham a home for everyone.”
One of her main objectives is curbing excessive course fees for international students to make the University more accessible: ”International students are already paying over 60% more than home students, so it makes it harder for international students to come in.”
Aanchal also plans to help international students manage their finances: “A new point that I want to introduce is financial advice: getting in contact with financial experts and advisers to help international students budget their finances, because for the first time ever they are living independently from their parents, so they don’t know how to manage their expenses.”
Increasing inclusivity and cultural awareness are another one of Aanchal’s objectives. She hopes to work with different cultural societies across the University and encourage them to collaborate.
Aanchal believes in the importance of small details that shape the university experience: “Advice, fees, all these things, are very basic things that matter.” She adds: “I just want to make a small difference which can turn out to be quite big for someone.”
Her slogan highlights her concern with inclusivity: ‘Creating a home for all’.
Rox Yan Junzhi
Rox Yan Junzhi is a first-year International Media and Communication student from China, who is running to be the International Officer.
Rox started the interview by talking about having the opportunity to meet with Loren and Hemanth, the current International Students’ Officers. “Getting to meet Loren and Hemanth really helped me because I got to see their passion for their job.”
When asked what makes him stand out from the other candidates running for the same position, he talked to us about his different roles within the University: “I have participated in many different roles this past year such as Course Rep and International Rep for Ancaster. I have also been part of Impact and Humans of the UoN.”
He believes that being a Course Rep and an International Rep has allowed him to have a better understanding of International students from “both an academic and living side.”
Rox went on to say that 45% of students across the three campuses at the University are International students, therefore he wants to be their “guardian angel,” someone who they can rely on.
When talking about one of his manifesto points, Rox said: “I want to strengthen the Global Buddies scheme, but it will be pretty hard. However, I have a passion to make change. I am planning on further developing this program. For example, helping with housing and raising awareness of this program.”
When asked what he was most looking forward to during the campaign, he said that he was excited about the video that he will be shooting for his campaign.
His slogan is ‘Rox the Rocket’.
Kilian Bachmair is a second-year Philosophy, Politics and Economics student running to be the International Officer.
His manifesto points all centre around what he sees as his main policy point, “increas[ing] international engagement with the Students’ Union and encourag[ing] international students to engage with more societies, sports clubs and volunteering.”
There are several ways he intends to do this, including introducing an international students newsletter, increasing awareness of Engage sessions offered at David Ross, and changing expenses for sports memberships which are particularly hefty for international students who are often just here for a short time.
He expands on the latter point by saying he intends to introduce “discounts on bulk memberships, whereby if you sign up to multiple societies you’d get a discount.”
He states that the leadership skills he developed from a number of activities he is involved with, makes him a suitable candidate for the role. “I’m involved now and last year with the Ingenuity [business pitching competition ran by the University] initiative, acting as a team leader last year where I had to pitch my business ideas to field experts.”
Furthermore, he is a climbing instructor at DRSV where he leads engage sessions. He claims seeing only a handful of international students attend these engage sessions made him realise how little awareness there was in the international community about the opportunities offered by University outside of academia.
When asked what he is looking forward to during the campaigning process, he said: “In short, I’m looking forward to be[ing] in contact with the people I hope to represent.”
Killian’s manifesto points are encapsulated by his slogan: ‘Because Uni is more than lectures and exams’.
Note: John Lim did not attend the Media Day on 24th February.
John Lim is also running to be your International Officer and has based his manifesto on three main facets: Stronger Bridges, Stronger Relationships, Stronger Community.
In terms of building stronger bridges, John aims to enrol all students into the International Students’ Network, along with building on the Global Buddies programme to extend it to all international students before arrival.
John would also like to start a language cafe in the Portland Coffee Co., where international students and local students can form stronger relationships by sharing conversations over a hot drink.
Further to his plan to build stronger relationships, he also plans to start a ‘share-a-meal’ scheme, whereby local and international can invite each other to their homes for a home-cooked meal, creating lasting friendships.
Finally, in terms of creating a stronger community, John plans to open a ‘Language Clinic’, a volunteer scheme where international students can drop in with questions about their essays and other students can volunteer to proofread for grammatical errors.
John cites his experience as a student trustee on the Students’ Union board and as an international student as the primary experience that will stand him in good stead to be an International Officer.
Alice & Veronia
Note: Alice & Veronia did not attend the Media Day on 24th February.
Alice and Veronia are two first-year international students who are running to be your new International Officers. Alice is also the current International Rep at Florence Boot Hall and has already engaged with international students in her vicinity.
Alice and Veronia acknowledge the ‘confusion and discomfort settling into what seemed a very strange and unusual environment’ in their manifesto, and want to ‘avoid that completely for other students.’
They plan to encourage ‘greater advertisement during Welcome Week and for international events’, through bright, colourful emails, flyers and posters.
Alice and Veronia also plan to ensure that at the start of the semester, mentors give a briefing regarding health registration, hospitals, sexual health clinics, and the best bank and phone offers.
Another key point of their manifesto aims to utilise public spaces for international parades/fashion shows showcasing traditional costumes, ‘to embrace the diverse community we live in.’ They would also like to encourage collaborations between country-specific societies, ‘encouraging students to learn about different cultures.’
Note: Anne did not attend the Media Day on 24th February.
Anne (Annette Lai) is also running to be your new International Officer and references her large international social circle, good communication and team-working skills and her critical-thinking skills as the main reasons for her suitability for the role.
Anne cites her previous experience as an English Ambassador, organising and executing events, and collecting opinions from students to improve the society, and as a customer service representative for the University.
In terms of what she would like to change, Anne would like to create a better system of reflecting students’ opinions, improving welfare, and creating a better community.
Note: Chai/Cooper did not attend the Media Day on 24th February.
Chai/Cooper is also running to be your next International Officer, and he hopes to create an ‘ecosystem were all students feel [they] belong,’ helping you to do things you cherish with the people you love.
Chai is an international student who personally witnessed the difficulties faces when away from home and wants to help avoid this for the incoming international students.
In terms of what he would like to change, Chai would like to address and improve the issue of increasing tuitions fees for international students at the University, as well as growing the transparency of help for international students.
Chai/Cooper also hopes to ‘help international students attain the feeling of belonging’, by introducing more engagement with home students and faculty through various programmes and collaborative activities at the University.
He also plans to host a larger number of diverse cultural festivals and expand the operations of Global Buddies to connect home students with exchange and international students, to help international students get over ‘culture shock.’
Shen-Li & Yi Ling
Note: Shen-Li & Yi Ling did not attend the Media Day on 24th February.
Shen-Li and Yi Ling are running to be your International Officers for 2017/18; both are from Malaysia and are fluent in both English and Mandarin.
In their manifesto summary, Shen-Li and Yi Ling aim to encourage inclusivity and diversity through cultural events, improve accessibility, create and promote existing facilities to smooth the transition for international students and introduce a buddy system for language exchange.
In terms of what they would like to change, Shen-Li and Li Yeng would like to introduce a buddy system for language exchange and hold support events where international and local students can meet.
They would also like to promote the existing facilities or services specifically catered to international students, and improve administrative accessibility for international students, by ‘setting up a welcome programme where students proficient in certain languages can volunteer to assist in administrative offices during Welcome Week.’
Their final manifesto point is to push for lecture captures across the University, ‘as international students might need to revisit the lectures due to language differences.’
Shen-Li and Li Yeng hope to provide a ‘welcoming community where people can bond over their differences.’
Note: Tina did not attend the Media Day on 24th February.
Tina is the final candidate running to be International Officer and summarises her manifesto as a way of ‘mak[ing] a home away from that we can all be proud of.’
Tina plans to introduce a buddy system, so that ‘whenever you feel homesick, you have someone to help you beat the blues’, and establish a network for international students by international students in higher years, ‘to act as mentors.’
In her manifesto, Tina promises to represent the needs, concerns and ideas of international students.
She also references her personal experiences and those of her fellow undergraduate and postgraduate international students, which instils her with the ‘need to provide support for others who crave a sense of belonging.’
To read the manifestos for your International candidates, head to the Student Leader Elections website.
Featured image: Poppy Anne Malby
Images courtesy of Impact Images.