The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

International students’ academic plight at TCC

Image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay International students have been imposed with many difficulties concerning their enrollment at TCC during COVID-19.

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Some international students have been worried about protecting their student visas with all the restrictions the pandemic has placed on higher education learning.

One requirement is they must take a minimum of one face-to-face course if new. However, this year that hasn’t been so easy. The classes offered are limited, leaving international students with few options. 

“It is too hard and I’m tired of how the system works,” TCC international student Sooa Pyo said. “There aren’t many in-person classes open for international freshman students.”

Many TCC students may say convenience is the biggest advantage of online classes, but the international students search for their in-person classes among few options, drive all the way to TR Campus no matter how far they are and take classes they may not even need without meeting new friends in a new country. 

“Since the Trinity River campus is the only place that opens for the class, transportation becomes the problem every week,” said Pyo.

The selection of in-person courses available for Spring 2021 was more difficult than the fall, assistant director of admissions Jennifer Minke said. And the students who entered in fall 2020 were still required to be enrolled in in-person classes per USCIS guidance, she said. 

International student Jiwon Choi said he met with an academic adviser before registering for classes but still ran into problems. 

“However, those changes and decisions made me take designated in-person classes that aren’t even necessary for my major and which I don’t want to take,” he said.

 The responsibility for assigning faculty to specific classes and campuses is up to academic departments from TCC once the decision is made about what courses they will offer in-person, Minke said.

When TCC returns to predominantly in-person classes, all F1 students will need to register for in-person classes, with the prior allowance of one online class, to make up their required full-time course load, Minke said.

TCC is considering the best process for international students to receive college instruction in the U.S. while respecting COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

TCC follows the Student and Exchange Visitor Program as instructed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.Once the TCC international office received notices from these two departments regarding how to handle the enrollment of international students, Minke collaborated with director Rebecca Griffith to determine how to best provide for and protect the visa statuses of the international students.

When she learned how much of a struggle this was for international students, Griffith reached out to the Faculty Association and vice president of Academic Affairs at TR Campus expressing the need for instructors willing to instruct a course on campus. 

“I am a part of an academic institution that thrives on reaching one teaching one here at Tarrant County College,” TR economic instructor Avis Brown said. “When I stand among those internationalj students and teach them about the United States economy, that represents an international agreement that our U.S. government established so many years ago.”

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