We come here, educate ourselves, establish our lives, and get thrown out.
In Santa Barbara only we have around 3,000 international students. A diverse student body comes with a richer education experience and you learn about different cultures and nations first hand.
Having been in the U.S for almost four years I have learned that many (including myself) are worried about their lives post college in the U.S. To me it would make sense that a country want to keep as many educated people as possible, with bilingual skills, and input on different cultures. Though, the U.S government seems to think otherwise. As I mentioned in my last article it is very hard for an international student to obtain a work visa after an OPT. Many feel like they have established their lives in the U.S, they have many of their best friends here, and some have American boy/girlfriends. And yet, we are forced to either get married or get out.
Speaking out of own experience it is a very stressful thought to realize that you are soon to graduate, and only have one year left to stay in the country with an OPT. I have a five year relationship with an American, I have a dog, I have my closest friends here, I have job opportunities. Though, I realize that the life I have built in this country in the past four years will soon be over, unless, of course, I get married at 24. The marriage part is something I have thought about a lot and it makes sense for me to go through with it; since my life is here along with the love of my life. On the other hand, marriage is a moment I wish to be special and shared with everyone I love; it should be planned and done at a time you feel it is right. Though, it looks as if I have no other choice than getting married to be able to stay with my life and love.
Similarly, many of my international friends and acquaintances have educated themselves, created their lives, and want to stay in the U.S. Though most of them are not in a long term relationship with an American, thus, the chances of them continuing their lives in this country are very slim. Unless they are lucky with the green card lottery, getting sponsored from a company, or go around the law and marry an American, their sent off to utilize their education in a different country.
It is understandable that the government do not show empathy for people having created their lives here during studies. Though, out of an economical standpoint, it’s a waste of resources to educate people to later just throw them out. If they don’t want internationals to take American’s jobs then at least let them start their own companies and create jobs. In fact, I know a lot of my international friends are entrepreneurs and would like to start their own companies here. The law says that you can start a company, but you can not work for it.
Hopefully, there will be a change in the law regarding international students. It is important to understand that we can contribute to society, so there’s no need to throw us out.