The international student workforce that keeps De Anza going


Selina Malik

Vanisha Ojha is a 19-year-old international transfer student who is studying business. She transferred this quarter to De Anza College from India and currently works in the school cafeteria.

Courtney McClain, Reporter

After not having on-campus schooling for a year and a half, the international transfer students at De Anza College have come together to help revive the  school’s vital functions. The cafeteria, book-store and library have reopened  with many rules and regulations that still need to be followed.

The majority of workers at De Anza come from the international transfer students program. After the shut down, not many of the domestic workers have come back to work, thus leaving the international students from other countries to take on the roles left open.

Vanisha Ojha, 19, is a business marketing major from India who works at the school cafeteria. She said that she had to learn the work style in America and found it confusing at first. 

“So far here I have had a few classes on campus, so it’s been very nice to be able to go to work after school since I didn’t really know De Anza before,” Ojha said. 

Prior to being able to work, Ojha explained that she had to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Jun Rong Liew is a 21-year-old business major studying at De Anza. He works as a cashier in the Cafeteria and is originally from Malaysia. (Selina Malik)

“The most comfortable part about the job is knowing that I am safe from the virus,” Ojha said. “I feel safer coming to work everyday with De Anza’s return to campus rules for everyone.”

Many of the international students didn’t attend De Anza prior to the shutdown. Unsure of what the social atmosphere was like before their time, the international students try to do what they can to be able to provide for the school. Because of this, everything is based on experience and the ability to try things for the first time.

Jun Rong Liew, 21, is a business major from Malaysia who works as a cashier in the cafeteria. He said that he benefits greatly from working on-campus and that the school will likely need to hire more when it reopens. 

“Working at this job taught me how to strengthen my English and improve handling money in this country,” Liew said. 

As of right now, De Anza offers a mixture of online and in-person classes, making it more flexible for the students to partake in working and going to school. For students who started their first year at De Anza this quarter, they have likely never seen campus before.

Since campus life has been slow, this gives the international employees the added opportunity to get to know one another better while adapting to new skills that they can carry on into their everyday lives. This experience is invaluable for those entering a new country.

At De Anza, international students also come from places such as Cambodia, Brazil and Russia. The transition is different depending on the person and their circumstances.

Alyssa Ung is a 26-year-old network programming major who came from the country Malaysia. She is seen here working the Photo ID desk at the Student Services Center. (Selina Malik)

As the campus opens up more starting this upcoming winter quarter, many of these workers say that they still hope to maintain their jobs. Many have said that making memories and having the social atmosphere back at school are things that they look forward to at De Anza.

Without the international students, many resources wouldn’t have been able to fully reopen. And without these jobs, these workers also wouldn’t have the opportunity to earn a living in a country that makes finding work as a foreigner incredibly difficult. 

These students want to understand the environment they are in and working for the school not only encourages the school’s success, but also the success of these individuals who are from a foreign country.