Presidential election worries international students about future of student status


Source: Freepiks

International students voice concerns over the upcoming election.

Ella Shih, Staff Reporter

As the presidential election draws closer, De Anza College international students share similar sentiments of dissatisfaction and fear about the Trump administration’s past four years.


The Trump administration proposed stripping international students of their F-1 visas if they did not attend some in-person classes this past July, according to the New York Times.  The proposal was then rescinded. 


In September, the administration proposed more changes to international students’ visas, which would terminate their visa after four years under a “fixed period of stay.” Currently, student visas extend as long as the student meets the terms of compliance with admission.


La Voz News interviewed five international students about their reflections on the past four years and worries for the future. 


Here are their responses:



Yuetong Zhang, 18, an English major, from Botswana said that she feels “not wanted in this country, even though I’m just trying to pursue an education.”


She said the Trump administration’s policies are dangerous to her as an international student and risk receiving her education in the U.S.


“I was put in a position where it’s either I risk my life, or get deported and then have to face time zone differences and internet problems in order to just get my education,” Zhang said. 


Zhang has invested two years in the U.S. to receive a collegiate education, and said she plans to pursue a master’s degree. 


Once she receives her bachelor’s degree, she said she will most likely return home to finish her education because of the hostility toward international students in the U.S.


“I would try my best to find the best way out because in the long run I don’t want to be in a country that doesn’t welcome me that doesn’t want me to, you know, achieve my life,” Zhang said.


In order to improve the situation in the U.S. for international students, Zhang said international students need to encourage people who can vote to vote.


“I feel like there is this feeling of apathy amongst international students,” said Zhang. “Even just something as small as telling people to go vote just like verbally telling them will make some type of difference.”



Chinese student Sharon Ma, 19, an English literature major, said she “never had a good impression on Trump’s IS (international student) policy. ”


Ma applied for the F-1 visa in the middle of the trade war with China and the U.S., and was worried about getting her visa. She was able to get her visa after one try.


But Ma said that one of her high school friends had to apply for the visa four times before it was accepted during the trade war.


She said the policies the Trump administration has proposed have negatively impacted international students.


“There are too many policies that he aims against us,” she said.


Ma said that while she does not approve of President Trump’s international student policies, she believes she will be able to remain in the U.S.


“If Trump gets elected, I think he will continue to come out with policies against IS (international students), but will continue to be rejected by universities,” she said. “But as long as he doesn’t get too crazy, I think maybe I can still handle staying in the U.S., mainly because I’m not a STEM major.”




Taiwanese student Calvin Liu, 22, computer science major, said he strongly disapproves of the way the current administration treats international students.


“I feel so disappointed,” he said. “Honestly, he treated international students horrible in every aspect.”


Liu also said that the administration’s efforts to handle the pandemic endangered millions of people.


“Trump deviated from the script,” he said. “Trump put more attention on his presidential election, so he missed the best time to save millions of lives during the pandemic.”


Liu said that the messages the current administration promotes negatively impact the U.S.


“Trust me, hate cannot make a country great,” Liu said. 


If President Trump is reelected, and continues to make similar policies toward international students, Liu said he would look into finishing his education outside of the U.S. 


“If he still modifies the terrible policy and treats foreigners like garbage, I would consider studying in other countries,” he said.




Indonesian student Eiffel Valentino, 19, computer engineering major, said he has lost some hope in the administration.


But Valentino said that he admires President Trump’s approach to national security.


“For now, the way he’s trying to protect his country is something nice,” he said.


Despite the Trump administration’s proposed international student policies, Valentino said that he is not worried about his student status if Trump gets reelected. 


“I don’t think there’s gonna be a huge impact,” he said.




Indian student Tejhasvi Jaikumar, 21, social and behavioral science major said he hopes people vote for who they support this election.


“I think it’s important. If people vote for the party that they think will make a difference in the country, not just for right now but for the future as well,” he said.


Jaikumar, who has been studying in the U.S. for three years, said he does not believe his student status will be at risk if President Trump is reelected.