Anonymous Instagram page documents international student experiences

AMS says it will bring concerns to Queen’s administration, Board of Trustees

The account was launched Jan. 28.
Journal File Photo

A new Instagram account called 'International at Queen’s' is using its platform to share concerns about the international student experience.

The account, which was launched on Jan. 28, is run anonymously by two undergraduate international students for other international students.

The posts share a range of alleged student experiences, with many expressing a desire for lower tuition, increased scholarships and other financial aid, adjusted curriculum, a more diverse pool of professors, broader career guidance, and greater international student representation on clubs and in student government bodies. 

The account had garnered 521 followers as of Monday evening, as well as the attention of the AMS.

“The AMS has been made aware of the account @internationalatqueens and commends the students who have come forward to share their stories and experiences,” the AMS wrote in a statement on Jan. 29. 

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“Although news regarding PhD program tuition for international students is encouraging and welcomed, the AMS recognizes the financial and other hardships faced by our undergraduate international students, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that have not been addressed by Queen’s.”

The University announced on Jan. 27 that tuition fees for international PhD students will be assessed at the same rate as those of domestic students starting in September 2021. The change is designed to make Queen’s more competitive in recruiting “high quality” students, according to a story from the Queen’s Gazette.

The AMS said its Campus Affairs Commission has put its resources this year into “understanding the needs of undergraduate international students.”

“We are working to find ways the AMS can alleviate financial strain on our undergraduate international students,” the Society wrote. “In doing so, we are focusing on financial aid, assistance and support.”

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“We will assess current AMS bursaries and grants, continue this conversation with University Administration, and address this topic to the Queen’s Board of Trustees. We will continue to meet with the QUIC [Queen's University International Centre] to work on ways to partner with the office and their services.”

The Society said it intends to “emphasize” the concerns brought forward through the account at the next Board of Trustees meeting.

The AMS said it had shared this account with the Queen’s administration, though the University didn’t respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. 

“The AMS implores Queen’s University to seek measures to foster a more financially accessible and welcoming environment for our undergraduate international students,” the Society wrote. “These students must receive support, or Queen’s risks losing a very meaningful and integral part of the community.”

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