Arriving to Places Unknown, It’s Harder than you Think
Whether it’s the other side of the globe or bordering countries, prospective students form other nations must take many steps in order to come to the University of Wyoming. Jesse Hughes, the Immigration Coordinator of UW explains what students must do in order to obtain an education in the United States.
To start their process, they have to apply and be accepted to the University. After that, they must apply for their Visa and go through the required background checks and screenings.
If they clear that step, they then will be asked to attend an in-person interview with one or more specialist. Jesse Hughes explains how hard this step.
He says “…even something as simple as that person mentioning an internship opportunity or having family in the United States can disqualify the applicant.”
Hughes also added that the most important part of their approval process is proof that they can pay for the full first year of college upfront and that they will return back to their country after completeing their degree. Even after all of this, they still must make it through customs and border patrol.
They Made it Here, Now What Happens?
The challenges don’t end when their feet hit American soil either. Not only do they have to adjust to a new language, new cultures and new foods, but, they also have an entire book of rules to abide to. Luckily, students at the University of Wyoming have amazing resources to help them be successful. Jesse Hughes talked about his experiences at UW and compared them to his time working at a school in Utah.
Many other schools do not make nearly as much effort to help international students. The school that he worked for previously didn’t have an open-door, appointment free office that was as flexible and welcoming as Wyoming’s and also didn’t correspond with them nearly as frequently. Hughes explains that this is greatly important to the student’s success and helps them avoid conflict with ICE and the federal officials.
There are also many other challenges for international students. For instance, they pay extra fees for being international but are offered no federal aid and even less scholarships. They also are not granted permission for employment off of campus and cannot work more than 20 hours a week.
Strict Regulations, High Expenses & New Cultures, What Makes it Worth While?
The University of Wyoming currently has 715 international student, 70 international scholars and 121 children or spouses that traveled with them. These international students come from 90 countries with China, Canada, India, Bangladesh and Saudia Arabia being the most popular.
Among those students is Juan Vintimila from Ecuador. During an interview, Juan gave details of getting his Green Card for schooling in the United States. Juan explained that he could apply for a Green Card instead of a Visa because he was born in the United States.
“Getting my Green Card was extremely long. A lot of paperwork and medical studies”.
Juan said that the medical studies were the worst part of it but that ultimately memories like speaking at the Honor’s Convacation and the promise of a better future make it all worth it.
An international scholar from Uganda, Stephen Frimpong, shared insight of his struggles as well. Stephen was lucky to have previous international study experience and work experience with the UN which made it easier to obtain a Visa.
However, he spoke about the financial struggles with international studies and said that airfare, serves fees, Visa Application fees and postal fees accumulate quickly and create extra obstacles for many people.
He also said that leaving the warm weather and beaches from hone make this new life more difficult.
Overall, the University of Wyoming welcomes many international students and scholars and has many programs including the ISS to help students connect better with Americans. A large portion of the international students and scholars seek this type of assistance and are grateful for flexibility and commitment of ISS.
To learn more about ISS as an organization or the students themselves, check out the website at: http://www.uwyo.edu/iss/ or stop by the Cheney Building and talk to any of the staff or students in the Immigration office.