13 October 2013
Many of us have read the recent survey on The Saint, which suggests a general lack of awareness of what the Student Representative Committee (SRC) has been up to. Many of us do not know who they are, much less what they are doing. Due to this, I thought it would be of interest to the international community here in St Andrews to know who represents them at the Union. Caroline Rhoads is the International Students Officer at the SRC; she is the one making sure your voice as an international student is being heard. Here is a short insight into what she has been doing thus far.
The Interpreter Magazine (T.I.M): What motivated you to run for your position?
Caroline Rhoads (C.R): I thought that since international students are such a big part of St Andrews, and being one of them it would be cool to represent them. I thought that since I lived in a lot of different countries, and so have a varied international background, it would help me represent people better.
T.I.M: Have you seen the Saint’s Survey suggesting lack of awareness of SRC Officers?
C.R: At the moment there probably isn’t a lot of awareness of me, but I am definitely going to try to do more by hosting events at various halls, and thus get more international students to know who I am and that they can speak to me. We had one event in Fresher’s week, an international students welcome, which I felt was a good way to put ourselves out there, for people to know who we are.
T.I.M: Was the turnout high?
C.R: I’d say it was really good, a lot of first years, but we are going to focus more on specific halls, particularly those with a lot of international students like DRA. We actually are in contact with someone there, so hopefully we’ll be able to put on events for international students to really get out there.
T.I.M: What challenges do you think that international students are facing right now?
C.R: Right now, I would say that one of the biggest challenges are the tuition fees. They rise substantially every year, and so we really need to be working hard to get those fixed at the beginning of each course.
T.I.M: Do feel it is easy to communicate or work with the University?
C.R: That’s a difficult one, I would say, at the moment I haven’t actively spoken about tuition fees to them yet; but at the end of the day it’s really up to them, and what they can do with it. We do have a voice but not a deciding one.
Overall, I mostly work with people in the union so I’m not really able to say if they are or not.
T.I.M: Do you feel that we make international students feel welcome here?
C.R: Definitely. It’s so easy to meet people; there are so many international students from all over the place. Almost no country is unrepresented. It’s a very welcoming place.
T.I.M: What is the weirdest thing that happened to you since you have been elected?
C.R: Ehm… nothing really weird has happened, I may have to think about it…
T.I.M: How would you describe your workload in the SRC?
C.R: I would say it is what you make of it, some weeks I am doing a lot—often more than I should—but some other weeks I have a lot to work on, so it is really what you make of it. There are a lot of meetings to attend.
T.I.M: That leads me to my other question: do you feel the SRC meetings are productive?
T.I.M: What would be your advice to someone wanting to run for your position next year?
C.R: I would tell them to really make sure that this is what they want to do, because it can end up being a lot of work. They have to be really sure. There are so many people on the SRC that are doing so much.
T.I.M: What do you think, or feel, your legacy will be?
C.R: I’d say that I’d like to be remembered as having really known all or most of the international students—that I was really out there and really working with people, rather than just working on my own. I really want people to know what I’m doing.