Creating connections between embassies and students
International Students’ Union of Norway is creating a network for embassies to contact their nationalities’ students. A total of 15 countries attended the first meeting.
— The intention is to help the embassies provide services for their students, says Abraham Vysocky, the national president for the International Students’ Union in Norway (ISU Norway).
Representatives from 15 embassies joined in on the first meeting since he and his team at ISU started the collaboration project in October of last year.
— An impressive turnout in six months, he says adding that embassies which they had not even talked to contacted him and wanted to join.
The objective of the network is to make the stay better for international students in Norway. According to Vysocky a lot of students are not aware of what services the embassies provide. However, there definitely are advantages for the embassies as well.
Involving the embassies is an great help in connecting with students, our important
— Connecting students with embassies will improve the students’ welfare, he says and continues:
— For instance in election years we want to give the embassies a channel for connecting with their citizens, giving the students the opportunity to participate.
All the representatives who spoke during the meeting were positive, describing it as a win-win where one would support own citizens and higher education. Suggested benefits range from voting opportunities to social and cultural events, all underlining connecting with citizens without there having to be a problem first.
The fifteen embassies that attended were Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Iraq, Israel, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and the USA.
Cuba was the only country represented by the actual ambassador, Maria Esther:
— We value everything concerning education. Cuba is the country that spends the most on education in the entire world, a whole thirty per cent of our national budget, says Esther, arguing that even though she and her husband are the only representatives from Cuba in Norway, the initiative is still important.
— Involving the embassies is a great help in connecting with students, our important future.
ISU Norway is an interest organization for the 25.000 international students in Norway, and has local member organizations at 27 different higher education institutions in Norway.
The plan is to arrange semesterly meetings and create the opportunity to bring information back and forth between the embassies and the 27 ISU branches and their followers, thus reaching the students directly.
Relevant student parties also attended the first meeting:
- ANSA (Association of Norwegian Students Abroad).
- SIU (The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education).
- NSO (the National Union of Students in Norway).