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A New United States (Since November 2016) - And Where Do International Students Go From Here?

February 7, 2017

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A New United States (Since November 2016) - And Where Do International Students Go From Here?

February 7, 2017

 

Blog Disclaimer: This blog post represents my own views about a subject matter with which I deeply care about - that is to provide prospective and current U.S international students with a healthy dose of realism and perspective about current issues, be it academically or  professionally. In other words – you’re in for a ride!

 

I could still vividly recall my morning events on the day when over 120 million Americans went to the poll station to vote and determine who would become the 45th President of the United States. It was approximately 9am Singapore time, and the electoral vote count tracker showed that Donald Trump was leading. My mum, looking concerned based on the preliminary results, turned to me and asked what would happen if he really goes on to win the elections? Having closely followed the election contest for the last couple of months, I nonchalantly reassured my mum the odds of Trump winning are close to zero.


I could not have been more wrong.

 

Fast forward into 2017, Donald Trump has been sworn into office and boy did he come out firing in all cylinders. Executive orders were signed left and right by him– from repealing the Universal Healthcare Act, which is also known as “Obama-Care”, to issuing a travel decree to ban all travelers from seven Muslim majority countries from the entering the United States. These unconventional moves have certainly raised the eyebrows of many around the world to say the least. It is only natural for any prospective parent or international student to have some concerns about the current political situation in the United States, and how it may affect ones’ academic and professional career prospects.
 

Despite all of the noise that is going on in the U.S political landscape, I have been really heartened to see how many fellow American citizens, Universities and Corporations have banded together to voice their concerns and taken action against the administration’s immigration restrictions. This is because millions of Americans DO truly believe that a society that embraces diversity and openness - all deeply sewn in the country’s undivided commitment towards welcoming immigration. Together, we become stronger. Divided, we become weaker.

 

Having lived, studied and worked in this great country for over eight years, I have always felt welcome and safe in the community.  Whenever I walk down memory lane, I reminisce my life in the college town of Bloomington Indiana as inexplicably beautiful, friendly and amazingly different from urban life. Bold but True claim - I have NEVER heard a single car honk on the roads of Bloomington that showcased displeasure, impatience or intolerance. Paradoxically, honks were used to commemorate college sporting triumphs and the occasional festive celebrations! This apparently trivial observation, in my opinion, represents a statement of harmony and celebration of unity within the sanctuaries of higher learning and education in the United States. 

 

 Showcasing my Alma mater - Indiana University Bloomington - Picture taken from Indiana University's General Education website

 

With all that said, I have undivided faith that the checks and balances in place within the U.S government would steer them through this momentary period of political transition to the hands of the new administration. As a matter of a fact, the movement to stand in solidarity with people affected by the current situation has started from the ground up. Numerous U.S universities in particular have taken the stand towards urging the current administration to make clear that the United States continues to welcome people from all around the world to pursue higher learning and education. For example, you can check out the message issued by the University of Chicago here regarding their concerns about the immigration order.

 

In my next post, I will dive into the reasons why I believe the United States remains the best place to pursue a higher education. So stay tuned!

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