Trump’s Election Evokes Fear in Prospective International Students


James Ahn, Editor-in-Chief

With the U.S. elections concluded in the favour of Donald Trump, his success has been met with mixed opinions. Despite the lack of a clear verdict in these arguments, international students have expressed that Trump’s policies have influenced their college decisions.

International students applying to the U.S. may be strongly impacted by Trump’s anti-immigration mentality. In order to stay in the U.S. for periods longer than 90 days, international students must apply for a visa. A sophomore at Northwestern University, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that her international friends “are super worried that they won’t be able to stay [in the U.S.] after graduation.”

Students fear that Trump’s anti-immigration perspective will tighten up the visa screening process, which would prevent them from staying in the US. In theory, even if international students were successful in receiving their student visa and graduated college in the U.S., they would have a difficult time staying in the U.S. to work. Even now, receiving a work visa successfully is almost equivalent to winning the lottery. Not only are U.S. employers hesitant to spend money to sponsor their employees, the high population of visa applicants decrease the possibility of successfully obtaining a work visa.

GSIS seniors expressed that due to the possible changes, their initial college plans were changed. “I had several different options for college. For America, I was going to go to art schools. I had Canada and Australia in mind too,” said Stephanie Kim.

“…after Trump won the election I started to consider Canadian schools to apply to.”

Grace Lee said, “Well, at first I only attempted to apply to American schools but then after Trump won the election I started to consider Canadian schools to apply to.”

Woojin Lee said she initially had no intentions to apply or attend any colleges outside of the U.S. Many others also expressed they set their college priorities in U.S. schools as well.

Woojin said that due to Trump’s victory in the elections, she began to consider applying to Canadian universities, “I’m not going to limit myself to apply to U.S. universities. I’m going to look for more options.”

David Kim said the colleges he is applying to are still in the U.S., but are not in red states. David listed California and Massachusetts as the two states he was applying to for university. “I believe [they] are the blue states, which are democratic.” He also added, he has opened his options for colleges to Christian schools and colleges in Europe.

However some seniors, like Eric Lee, said Trump’s policies has not affected their college decisions, “I only planned to apply in the U.S., so I’m going to stick with my plan.”

Eric explained that he had spent time with his parents to go over and create a plan for his post-secondary education. “I think it’s better to stick with what you’ve researched than to risk a plan for policies that aren’t 100 percent sure in creating negative effects.”

For one senior, who wished to remain anonymous, there wasn’t a choice available. He said that his parents “only care for U.S. colleges and do not really consider the U.S. elections.”

Furthermore, Woojin summarised Trump’s winning the election as “negative because it limits a lot of options for international students.” With all but three seniors planning to apply to at least one U.S. college, most seniors had to change their college plans.

“Right at that moment, American [colleges] got cut from my wish list.”

Humorously, Stephanie described her reaction to Trump’s winning the election, “Right at that moment, American [colleges] got cut from my wish list.”

Stephanie also explained her dismay as she invested a lot of time to prepare the prerequisites required to attend a U.S. college. “I spent almost every afternoon going to art classes trying to get my portfolio done and write my art personal statement.”

Despite the negative views on Trump’s possible effect on visa screening, seniors are still applying to U.S. colleges. “Tightening up visa screenings make U.S. universities less appealing than before, but it doesn’t deter me from applying,” said Woojin Lee.

Cindy Kang expressed her positive outlook towards the elections, explaining that she is no longer worried about Trump being President. “At first I was worried, but now I’m not worried,” said Cindy. “Even if he’s the President he can’t really do much.”