The Suffolk Journal

Filed under Opinion

More jobs needed

International students are not given enough work-study positions, even though they have no other options for paid work outside the university’s walls

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Even though Suffolk makes the statement that diversity plays a big role in our community, many internationals feel left out on working opportunities.”

Several Suffolk University students have been speaking up about the difficulties of finding on-campus jobs to which they might be eligible for. It is known that Suffolk has a very diverse set of students within its community, and yet, many of them feel they are not considered in the work ambit.

Student employment at the university is mostly sponsored by the Federal Work Study Program, which is considered exclusively for American Citizens.

This program distributes jobs on campus for full and part-time students, depending on their demonstration of financial needs. Since this is the largest resource for student employment, the majority of the jobs offered on campus are based on the program, which makes it hard for the average international student to find a paid job on-campus. Even though American citizens are legally able to work outside the university, most students prefer working on campus because of its adaptability to working schedules and concurrence with the semester calendar. Nevertheless, international students who want to gain professional experience find themselves within a very limited option range. Some of the few jobs that they can legally work on are teaching assistants, residence assistants and orientation leaders, but even then, in some cases the student must be on their sophomore year of college, restricting freshmen that want to work.

It could be argued that this matter has transcended into a national issue rather than just a concern at Suffolk University because the Work Study Program is a governmental matter, and used in every higher education entity across the country. “The thing is, the university is not considering that there might be unfairness in the job availability for international students. Many of us are very capable and willing to work but, at least in my case, whenever I found a job I was interested on, I needed to be eligible for work study hours, and since I am not American, work study does not apply”, said Valeria Losada, a current freshman from Colombia in search of an on-campus job.

Even though Suffolk makes the statement that diversity plays a big role in our community, many internationals feel left out on working opportunities. This is due to the fact that the university is  the only place they can legally work, and many feel American students who have other working opportunities are taking their spots.

Suffolk sophomore Claudia Sachs of Costa Rica said, “If I could work anywhere outside of campus I would, but I literally do not have that option, and the few opportunities that I should have here on campus are being limited to American citizens rather than for all Suffolk students”.

On a personal note, being myself an international student who had a very hard time finding an on-campus job, I can certify that the limitation of work opportunities here at Suffolk is rather frustrating, because many of us come from countries where we do not have the work opportunities the United States is so praised to hold. We come here in search of a better education and a better way to gain experience in our professional work ambit, and having to struggle with not finding jobs in the only place we are legally able to, can really become a hardship.

So what could be done in order to provide more opportunities for on-campus jobs for international students?

A possible solution could be to create a specific student employment program that focuses on the distribution of jobs for non-American citizens, as well as opening up spots for internationals in current job positions that are only available for Americans. This way, our Suffolk community can truly become undifferentiated ideologically, and the international students can gain the work experience they deserve.

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