Help for international students at UCT

24 May 2010

The Students' Representative Council (SRC) and international students have decided to form a working group to deliberate and address issues facing foreign students at UCT.

The body is made up of Melvyn Lubega, SRC vice-president external, and the respective heads of each society representing foreign nationals. The decision to establish the group was taken at a recent International Students' Forum, which was organised by the SRC in conjunction with the International Academic Programmes Office. The aim of the forum was to let international students engage with each other, and offer feedback on how to improve their experiences at UCT.

At the event the point was raised that although international students make up a large proportion of the student population, they are under-represented in policy-making groupings, and at times feel neglected. They are also battling to integrate with South African cultures and those of other nationals, and find that they are often discriminated against in the local labour market.

Lubega said that many international students (particularly those from African countries) were struggling to get internships, as some local companies will not take on foreigners. The group intends to find ways to address this problem, promote integration among students, and ensure that international students doing postgraduate studies are financially supported, among other issues.

"These are postgraduates who conduct research and raise the profile of UCT, and they deserve to be funded," said one student at the forum.

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