Thursday, February 03, 2005

Chinese New Year

I got invited to the Chinese Student's and Scholars Association (CSSA) Chinese New Year Party last night. Got two tickets, so I took VUWSA Education Officer, Maddy Drew along with me.

Great night, with a fantastic dinner. Our host, Alvin Wu, was very hospitable, making for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Got the chance to talk to quite a few international students about their experiences here at Victoria University. Almost everyone said that the fee rises of 2004 were really hitting them hard. Unlike domestic students, international students don't have a student loan scheme (no matter how fucked up it is) to fall back on. Many are on scholarships from their home country, and have a certain amount of money to pay for fees and to live. When fees go up, they have to seek out alternative sources of income, which is really hard when they can only work for 15 hours a week. Many are forced to work for below minimum wage in order to pay their fees. Others have to give up, and head home.

This is something that has to change. I will be working this year to get Victoria University to grandparent international fees, so that those students that are already at Victoria can budget for three years of study, and not have to worry about fees going up. At the same time, fees will still go up for new international students.
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