UVM’s international students are feeling ostracized

Madeleine Cary

When I spoke to two different friend groups about international students, I was met with the same response:

“I want to reach out, but…”  The consensus was that there is a huge divide between international students and everyone else.

At best, it’s simply a matter of the general  societal reluctance to reach out. At worst, it’s assumptions and misunderstandings about a whole section of our campus community.

I love UVM. It’s really disappointing to realize that while this campus has shown me some really hard but all-around wonderful three years so far, it has left others feeling isolated and lost.

I interviewed one of my dear friends Sophia Ma, who is an international student from China about her experience at UVM and what we can do to change it.

When you first came to UVM, were there resources available to international students? Were they helpful?

SM: Yes, the Office of International Education was definitely really helpful, but other than that, I don’t really recall other resources that were specifically for international students.

I don’t know about other international students, but I figured out stuff by myself.

What is the hardest part of studying internationally?

SM: The lack of an international student body and the lack of diversity have been the hardest parts. It’s also hard for international students to find their own communities.

Are UVM clubs doing enough to promote inclusivity on campus?

SM: I do think they are trying to promote inclusivity to some extent. Yet at the same time, they also have their own clique and circle, which I find hard to feel part of.

If there was one thing you would change about campus life at UVM, what would it be and why?

SM: If I could change one thing, I would stop putting all the International students (Especially Chinese students) all together in the Marsh-Austin-Tupper complex.

I don’t understand why they are all arranged in the same building. It almost seems like separation to me.

I don’t think that’s helping International students immerse themselves into American college life at all.

Do you think there is enough emphasis on diversity and bias prevention in classrooms?

SM: I don’t think so. Going to a class at UVM is like going into a white affinity space.

I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, but the same time there definitely were moments where I felt like students ignored international students and people of color in classrooms.