Get to know Ashrika, an International Student Officer and Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies student who is passionate about advocating for and supporting international students.
As an international student who went through a multitude of rather complex challenges, further intensified by the pandemic, I was quick to realise the need for international students to have increased agency at the University and Australia in general. I was especially keen to make sure that international student grievances were not just heard, but also actively considered and resolved. Given the various resources that the SRC has, such as free legal services, I believed becoming an SRC International Student Officer would enable me to support international students, and that is exactly what motivated me to run for the position.
Becoming an SRC International Student Officer has truly enabled my transformation as a leader and an aspiring policymaker. It has given me the courage and confidence to fiercely represent the interests of international students, while simultaneously honing my critical analysis and problem-solving skills, which are imperative for identifying gaps in international education policies and contemplating about how they can be filled to mitigate existing issues. For instance, most recently I was invited as a panellist to the Times Higher Education Campus Live ANZ, where I was asked to postulate how students really see the value proposition of Australian universities and how universities can work to improve upon certain aspects that would in turn increase that value proposition for students.
I think the most important thing for people to know about the role is the fact that it exists to bridge the gap between the students and the University, so international students can reach out in case they need help navigating through the various challenges that might confront them. This includes assisting with academic appeals, special consideration and academic miscounduct, and with living in Australia in general, such as issues relating to tenancy. In addition, the role also allows me to disseminate information about support, especially free legal support on behalf of the SRC that is available for international students. I urge international students to reach out if they need any help at all!