By Emily Diamond
For the first BeHeard Forum of the year on Oct. 25, Scripps Associated Students (SAS) and other students came together to discuss international students’ involvement in the Scripps community. Around 20 students of all years attended - primarily international students.
The forum mainly consisted of international students discussing policies, issues and accommodations they would like to address. Conversation spanned from discussing the difficulties of getting a U.S. license, to navigating the social scene, to challenges in the academic realm.
During the first topic of discussion - the cost and difficulty of receiving a U.S. license in order to be able to drive a Scripps van - one student stated that she has an international license but is still not allowed to rent a Scripps van. This sparked a conversation regarding the cost of a ID. In addition to the price of the test, students must also find an alternative way of transporting to the testing facility, which adds up quickly. These cost factors limit some international students from receiving an ID.
Next, the conversation shifted to the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). This year, all international students are required to use SHIP, which amounts to $1,890. In the past, students had the opportunity to become exempt from the plan and use a personal insurance plan, but now all international students are mandated to pay for the plan. Though this is required for all students among the Consortium (so Scripps does not have complete power), students still wanted to address this issue.
One student said she brought up this issue with Dean Charlotte Johnson, who stated that she does not want students to be rejected from hospitals and wants every students to have health insurance. The students said Dean Johnson recognized that the plan is expensive and is currently working on a solution.
Students then started to discuss issues related to the academic policies and atmosphere at Scripps. Some students brought up some concerns with the faculty. They said some professors seem to lack awareness of international students and their background in academia.
“I had never written in MLA style before last year and had no idea how to do it. A lot of the times I think faculty expects all students to enter the classroom with a base of knowledge. It’s just hard to come in without all of that,” Ramanshi Guptai ‘19 said on the challenge she had as a first year Scripps student.
Guptai and others recommended incorporating awareness around international students and potential limitations into faculty training.
Students also expressed concern around particular General Education requirements, noting
that the Race and Ethnic requirement is limited to American topics. Guptai said she is enrolled in a class called South Asian Politics & Society but it doesn’t fulfill the Race and Ethnic requirement.
This American-centric viewpoint and policies extends outside of the classroom into minimal aspects. Students brought up concerns with Malott and the international section. They argued that the food in this area oftentimes greatly contrasts the authentic food from that area.
In addition, Angela Yang ‘20 discussed the challenge she faced when filling out the SOAR form before coming to Scripps. The form required an American address, which Yang didn’t have. “It’s the little things that not everybody notices that make a difference,” Yang said.
Although time was running out of the forum, students briefly discussed difficulties with adjusting to the social scene. They noted that they wish there was a place to talk about cultural differences in terms of social experiences.
Overall, the forum touched on several different topics ranging from academic and social challenges at Scripps. This was a first step in recognizing the issues that may face an international student. It is now necessary to join Scripps community members working to diminish these difficulties in order to create an inclusive community at the college and throughout the Claremont Consortium.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The next BeHeard forum will be Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 from 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. in the Student Union. Topics covered will include the sexual climate at the 5Cs and accessibility to contraceptives on campus!
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit the SAS website and Facebook page: http://sas.scrippscollege.edu
Contact SAS Senate Chair: Irene Yi at HYi1959@scrippscollege.edu