For many international students, coming to the US for college was a goal that only the super rich or super talented had a shot at. Not only was attending university in the US seen as being prestigious, it also hinted toward a more progressive attitude. Students from countries like China could come to the US and study for an online social work masters degree, leaving them enough time to work, make new friends and have a life changing experience abroad, without fetters. The results of the US presidential election in November changed things. International students aren’t as enthusiastic about applying to colleges in the United States anymore, and they have some pretty good reasons to feel the way that they do.
Student Visa Policies Could Make it Hard for International Study
From travel visas to temporary work permits, the only way to gain entry to the United States as an international traveler is to have a valid and verifiable reason. Known as J-1 visas, international students who plan to work and reside in the US while working towards their degrees are routinely granted permission to stay. Soon to be leader of the United States, Donald Trump has gone on record, opposing J-1 visas as he believes that the same positions were more valuable to domestic workers. This is despite the fact that many of the jobs filled by J-1 visa holders are highly specialized, temporary, seasonal positions.
Threat of Blocking Immigration of Certain Religious Groups
The United States is home to a lot of great colleges, and international students flock here because of the opportunities that are plentiful. College entrance is largely based on grades, academic profiles, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities and volunteer work. There are many anti-discriminatory measures used by private and public colleges that help applicants get a fair shot at being accepted. Under Trump’s policies, Muslim international students may no longer be able to enter the country so that they can go to school. For students abroad who have been thinking of coming to the US for a forward thinking college experience, other nations are beginning to look far more inviting.
Bad International Policy
In countries where there are few educational opportunities, their governments will actually pay to send their brightest and most promising pupils to the US. For example, hundreds of thousands of students from China come here for college each year. China and the US sometimes have strained relations, but both countries have been able to set aside their differences for the purposes of promoting education. Getting an online masters of social work from a US based college isn’t possible in countries that have restrictive internet access, so there’s no shortcuts that can be taken by students wishing to avoid announcing their intention to go to the US for school.
In a couple of years, international students may still be coming to the United States in droves to complete their college educations, but the mood is decidedly somber in international student affairs offices across the land. Young people can only benefit from diversity and from constantly having their minds challenged. Perhaps the results of the last US presidential election will actually shape the future of international students in a positive way.
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