For International students planning to pursue higher education in the United States, it is an important consideration to build on extra-curricular experience. Such experience would not only enhance their cultural perspective but would also give them an opportunity to network and develop their communication skills. One such perfect opportunity for International students is getting involved in the student government body in their college.
The idea of a student government is embedded in the larger perspective of a democratic republic, where students from different demographics can share their concerns about issues surrounding them in the college environment. Even though the internal structure and working of the student government may differ from the size of the institution, it often resembles the structure of the U.S. Government which has the executive, judicial and legislative branches to overlook the functioning of the government, although some schools may also follow the parliamentarian format. In either format, students are given the opportunity to run for the open position and much like a democratic process have to garner enough votes from fellow students to be elected to their interested position. Reaching out to fellow students and being able to connect with them on issues surrounding the student body certainly adds value in perspective to an International student who maybe relatively new to the U.S. academic environment.
Contrary to the general thinking, the experience of being involved in a student government body is not just beneficial to political science or pre-law majors, but provides international students the opportunity to work in a team environment through balancing budgets as well as coordinating a consensus among various members to get policy accomplished. Transferable skills that are learned through the participation in the student government certainly go a long way for International students in building their professional image.
In the end, there are many reasons to become a part of the student government from working with a team of diverse participants to developing leadership and communication skills and to expand on professional development experience. However, it is also provides a valuable opportunity to share with other domestic students the perspective of an International student and the challenges and issues faced by that group of students in their day to day academic life on campus.
Raghvendra (Ragh) Singh, Assistant Director of International Recruitment & Admissions at University of Missouri at Columbia