With students from over 100 countries, Georgetown proudly touts its international status; the campus’ cultural vibrancy, further augmented by its investment in international programs, makes for an especially unique college experience. As graduation approaches, then, it is necessary to realize that, despite a strong desire to stay in The United States, many of these talented international students will not be able do so.
The Byzantine-esque visa system all but ensures that many international students will eventually be forced to return to their native countries.
Sharang Rai (MSB ’15), originally from Australia, is emblematic of this struggle. Despite securing a job at Audi in Virginia, Rai did not get his work visa approved and is returning to Australia. Rai laments that the extremely high cost of an American education was a “poor investment,” as he must return to his native country, where a degree would have been exponentially cheaper.
This disconnect is a significant problem. Although the U.S. offers an incredible collegiate education, this education is not put to good use in this country. The immigration system is a complex amalgam of bizarre bureaucratic rules and regulations that is nearly impossible to traverse, and it renders a significant loss for the country.
The Cawley Career Education Center recognizes these difficulties and attempts to match students to several niche industries that would benefit frominternational students’ backgrounds, such as intergovernmental agencies and private security contractors. But the career center could do more to help students find companies or immigration lawyers to help them stay in the United States. More extensive information sessions on the H-1B visa process in addition to the standard career workshops, as well as other alternatives for international students should be entertained and targeted at underclassmen as well as upperclassmen.
International students have many skills to offer to America, and other countries are in need of these high-caliber individuals, too. We should remain competitive by keeping them here.
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