The struggles of an immigrant student

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Many immigrant students at Cerritos College, or also known as international students, come from many different countries and unfortunately, getting into school and being able to stay in school is much harder for them than it is for national students.

It is difficult for International students to get by without the help from the Cerritos College staff.

For one, there is a huge process they have to go through in order to actually be able to register for classes.

Student must have their passports valid at all times, they also always need to have their I-20 form, F-1 visa and their I-94 form. Not having these forms can be consequential for the students.

International students have no option, but to take full-time classes. Every fall and spring semester, they have to have taken 12 or more units which is a total of 24 or more units a year.

Students that are new at the college and who have difficulty with the English language or are over-whelmed with the course load may be able to take fewer classes during their first semester.

During their second semester, they must follow the rules and take full-time classes in-order to maintain their student status. Other than that, an international student needs approval if they are to take fewer classes for any reason.

For example, if the student is ill for any reason, then he/she would be illegible to take fewer classes, but will not be able to exceed 12 months.

Unlike many students, who drop or withdraw their classes because it is just too hard or because they are too busy or even because they got bored, international students, sadly, do not have that kind of freedom.

International students need approval every time they want to drop or withdraw a class.

Medical insurance for students are mandatory. They must have one no matter what the case is. If an international student were to get sick, they would need to go to the student health center to get a “wavier”.

If the students want or need a job, they would have to get recommendations from the ISC before looking for employment and on top of that, they would have to get approval from the USCIS. Without authorization, being employed is not a possibility.

For the students that do get employed, they may not exceed more than 20 hours of work per week.

Students who drop their classes without warning would need to leave the United States, but if they get permission from the ISC, they may get 15 days so they can prepare to leave.

What many students depend on to get their classes here at Cerritos College is financial aid. For international students, financial aid is not given, it is possible, however, for them to apply for scholarships.

If all national students thought about what they have to do to be able to attend college, it would not be much compared to the demands international students have to face.

If anything, international students are probably more committed to their education because it takes a lot more effort for them to be here.

As for the international students, there is plenty of help that they can take to get through the process and guidance throughout their college experience. There is also an International student association that is available for student who would like to participate.