By far, the biggest strength of our university is our multicultural student body. The idea of sharing a space with people from over 120 different countries is at the same time inspiring and humbling.
This is especially true for me, as prior to coming to Scotland I had never left my country of origin, Greece. Stirling is not only providing me with a degree, but also with a first-class experience to meet people from every corner of our world and expand my perspective. For this, I am extremely grateful.
It is the role of the International Officer to look after and support this Eden of diversity, and that is exactly why I am running.
If elected, these are the ways in which I will support our community:
Enhance the International Experience: The University of Stirling is a place where people from more than 120 different countries come together. It is a great opportunity for all of us to broaden our horizons and meet different cultures and traditions. This can be further enhanced with more international-oriented events to celebrate this diversity, as well as a reform of the annual International Festival, in order to unleash its full potential and bring us closer. Furthermore, if elected, I will increase the cooperation and encourage the dialogue between the international societies of the Students’ Union to plan these events and deliver great results for the whole of the student body.
Real representation / Effective communication: Although the International officer is supposed to act as a liaison between our community and the wider student body, few know that the position exists. This needs to change. I will strive to make the office more visible through the creation of a dedicated Stirling University International Officer Facebook page. Furthermore, I will create multiple mailing lists to inform international students of relevant events which may affect them as well as to let them know of nearby events and opportunities. These mailing lists will discriminate between niche interest groups (like freshers or Brexit updates, for example) and the wider community, as to avoid spamming you with unwanted emails.
Increase cooperation: I believe that the various officers should cooperate to enhance the Stirling experience. Many of the issues affecting international students cannot be solved from the International Officer post alone. Some examples of potential cooperation include:
- Working together with the Health and Well-being officer to tackle issues students might face as a result of being away from home.
- Collaborating with the President of Sports to create more international-oriented sport events that will attract more international students to engage with sports.
Overall, I think this post has great untapped potential to really improve the experience of our international community, but this can only happen if the proper structures, which do not currently exist, are set up. I am willing to put in the time to do this.