By NOBONITA CHOWDHURY
Due to its large number of prestigious colleges, the United States sees a high influx of international students every year. The U.S. higher education system has been long renowned for its quality. Its comprehensive approach towards the college admissions process is also deemed by many to be a second chance, since most other countries settle this through rigidly standardized national exams. Adding on to all other benefits, the nation’s history of cosmopolitan multiculturalism allows international students to have a proper global experience.
Unfortunately, President Trump’s original immigration ban tried to reverse this trend. The ban applied to individuals originating from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Unfortunately, several other incidents combined with Trump’s prior contradictory comments has also left international students in a vulnerable state, particularly those originating from under developed nations.
As someone from Bangladesh (a third world country with a predominantly Muslim population) I am currently in the middle of this very unsettling situation. Most of my Bangladeshi peers in the U.S have discarded the idea of returning home for the summer. And with the way things are looking, I might as well be heading down the same path. If, for some reason, I am not let back into the States, it could mean having to start over at another college somewhere else. Most people back home are now applying to places like Canada and Australia, as they offer more scholarships, cheaper tuition and most importantly, security.
Studying in America was a dream harbored by many of my high school classmates. They toiled through board exams and took extra lessons to do well on the SATs. Dreams grow and change, as people get over them. But the loss of international students would be a big blow to American universities. International students make universities places of rich diversity and heightened scholarship, and their presence is an important part of keeping universities globally competitive. While I still think that a more aggressive immigration ban is still far from a reality, complications in obtaining visas and legal documents will likely lead to a declining international population. For American universities, this could mean losing diversity on campus as well as an important source of revenue.