Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend to the first ever international students conference organized by Yinbu Yo, NUS International Students’ Officer. It was an event full of workshops and talks for international students to share, learn and discuss their experience as students in the UK.
One of the workshops was about political engagement with Elliot-Bowman, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for Independent HE UK.
We discussed the main struggles for international students: visa restrictions, high fees and basic health care. She encouraged us to get involved in politics “if we don’t fight for our rights, who’s going to do it?” as migrants we think that we don’t have a voice in a foreign country as many of us we can’t vote in the general elections but there are more other ways we can get involved, she mentioned different organizations that work for the rights of international students like MAC, APPG, Student Action of refuges and Migration Work.
One of the other speakers was Julian Lo Curlo, an international students’ representative from the Danish student movement who talked about the barriers that international students have to overcome, and what can we do to address them.
“It is important that we, as international students, organize and work for equal, better and fair conditions for us, for other student minorities and, as well, for the student majorities”
I know for many of us, politics is not the first thing that is in our minds as our time in London is focused in our professional careers but there are small things that we can do to improve the prospects of future international students. One of the things that many of us can do is to vote in May 2018 in the local government election, a lot of us are eligible to vote so this is a great opportunity to have our voice heard as migrants in the UK.
If you're not registered to vote its really quick and simple. You can register to vote at any time of the year and if you're not sure if you're registered then you can get in touch with your local electoral registration office. In England you can register to vote online at gov.uk/register-to-vote .