Foreign Students in Trump’s America

As International Educators, many of our students will be affected by American President-elect Trump’s threat to enact a ban on Muslims entering the US, and to further impose strict vetting standards on immigrants from countries he considers “exporters of terrorism.”

..Early in his campaign, Trump called for the elimination of the J-1 Exchange Visa program through which foreign students can work in the US. It is not known if he was referring to the J-1 program as a whole or only to the jobs portion. It should be noted that colleges also use the J-1 Visa to bring in visiting foreign scholars.

..Philip Altbach, a research professor and founding director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, believes the new President will deter foreign students from considering US schools and that it will be more difficult for students who do apply. Mr. Altbach goes on to say he believes the outcome will be that Australia, Canada and other countries, where English is the medium of instruction, will benefit as students direct their applications to countries other than the US. He said the UK is “likely to be in the same situation as the US as it is seen as unwelcoming to foreigners.”

..The number of international students in US colleges is calculated to be more than one million. The Middle East alone sends more than 100,000 students to US universities.  A foreign student applying to universities in California said: “In his campaign, he’s discriminating against Muslim and other brown and black people ….. I’m thinking of applying to Canada“. Another student is quoted: “It’s the main topic of conversation among my friends, ….. They don’t want to apply to the US under Trump“.

ISR Asks: If your students, apprehensive to apply to a US university, asked for your advice, what would  you say to them? Has your school/colleagues met to discuss this topic? If so, what was concluded?


11 thoughts on “Foreign Students in Trump’s America

  1. Half of all immigrants in the world come to the United States. It is the only nation that takes in a million immigrants each year.

    Much of the hysteria comes from a divided political climate. I’m neither Republican nor Democrat, seeing fault with both, but I have noticed that those on the Left look and wish to confirm their anti-American bias.

    If you turn off your tv, you wouldn’t notice anything was amiss.


  2. The campus I work at issued a statement that “it values it’s international student’s and will monitor the situation closely” …. How many colleges and universities did the same thing?


  3. So it turns out “EnglishManInTheKnow” (Jan 13 comment) is a misnomer, as Trump is proving to be much, much worse than the “histrionic responses” which liberals predicted. Legal immigrants ARE being kept out, at times to heartbreaking results, and the next step according to several (admittedly liberal yet mostly reliable) sources will be to examine those in country for their use of social services as a litmus test to deportation.
    I cannot with good conscience recommend to my students that they study in the US, even if that was their plan. I only give that opinion when asked and admit it as a personal, likely biased one. However, I was not surprised on the day of the election to see several students scrambling to add previously unconsidered Canadian and European schools to their application lists; they decided it prudent to have a fall back option when the time comes to make up their minds – thus exhibiting more critical thinking skills than the current US President.


  4. Unfortunately and predictably, all of these histrionic responses are by the liberal teachers, where politics cloud their judgement. Trump, while not a perfect candidate, was elected because a lot of working Americans have grown tired of illegal immigrations (NOT legal immigrants) freely crossing into the country and not paying taxes while benefitting from life there (and off the backs of hard working, tax-paying Americans). Many Americans are also tired of life-long welfare programs that do nothing but perpetuate the cycle of poverty and do little to promote independence, ambition, and personal responsibility. l also happen to believe that proper vetting of immigrants from Muslim countries is reasonable given the realities of today (and I have lived in a Muslim country and have several Muslim friends). I know I have to provide background checks and a mountain of documents for the 6 countries I have lived in and it’s been ramped up recently with the requirement of an FBI background check. Do the people in those countries I am moving to bitch and moan about that vetting process for me and other expatriates? Absolutely not. They couldn’t care any less and if they did know, they would probably believe it reasonable requirement. Not to mention Obama’s complete disregard for the work of our police force, given a few, well-publicized (CNN) bad apples.

    Quite frankly, a lot of people in the USA believe that Obama was a weak President and simply ignored their interests. I, personally, do think it was great that an African-American achieved the highest office in the USA and it was a great example to minority students to show what you can do when you stay focused and show perseverance and grit. So let’s put on our “big boy” pants, and move on. Really, the complaining and moaning are unbecoming and set a terrible example for our students (especially considering how poor a candidate Hillary clearly was). Instead of being sore losers and acting like the sky is falling, why not put your effort into more positivity?


  5. At this moment I would advise students to seriously consider alternatives, but not give up if their dream is to study in the US. The president-elect may not even make it to the throne, and even if he does, may not stay there long.


  6. Personally, I am repulsed by what I see happening in America. Guns, guns, guns, hate crimes, police brutality against minorities. Trump and his supporters are the final straw. In all go conscious I can’t recommend that a student apply to schools in America. The place just isn’t safe for foreigners, let alone a liberal thinker.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Two years ago, after the latest in a long string of campus shootings, I earnestly advised a student to go to Canada and not the U.S. I cannot in good conscience advise any international student to come to the U.S. under the current circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I am an American who has taught in Korea and is now permanently resident in Mexico. I am encouraging anyone who asks me to drop the US and UK from their educational considerations, after everything that happened last year, and focus instead on Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland – English-speaking countries that have got their act together.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I would tell students that they should ignore the rhetoric and focus on the best school for them. The president can’t just do what he wants he has to go through Congress in order to change the laws. I would wait and see how things work out, before jumping to conclusions.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am a Canadian therefore rather unsympathetic to promoting US Colleges and universities over Canadian ones when both were equal, so the Trumpet is doing us Canucks a favour by being who he is. That said, i have always promoted the best fit for any of my students, regardless of where that fit is. Considerations like cost,safety, reputation, accessibility, depth and quality of specific programs, etc. come well before any nationalistic considerations so my kids have always been encouraged to apply where their needs,means and goals were best met…..
    Canada has far fewer universities than the US so could or would we accommodate 100,000 new student in a short space of time, is a question that is yet to be determined…..but my guess it that a wholesale migration from US schools to Canadian schools will not happen anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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