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Hey Guys, 

I remember being in undergrad and sometimes feeling so distant from my peers because I was an international student. Well, here I am again on this voyage about to feel even weirder, this time as a grad student. I thought that we should have a space where we could be able to share experiences, answer questions, give advice, or just a space where you say what makes you feel ok about yourself. Good luck everyone! 

Disclaimer: I worked with International Services during my undergrad but this does not make me an immigration official. Although I can give my opinion on certain situations based on past experience, I recommend contacting your school directly about these questions. 

Edited by Poodle-Doodle

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4 hours ago, Poodle-Doodle said:

Hey Guys, 

I remember being in undergrad and sometimes feeling so distant from my peers because I was an international student. Well, here I am again on this voyage about to feel even weirder, this time as a grad student. I thought that we should have a space where we could be able to share experiences, answer questions, give advice, or just a space where you say what makes you feel ok about yourself. Good luck everyone! 

Disclaimer: I worked with International Services during my undergrad but this does not make me an immigration official. Although I can give my opinion on certain situations based on past experience, I recommend contacting your school directly about these questions. 

What a great idea! I too was an international student in undergrad, happy to try and help answer any questions, esp.  on scholarships, student jobs and funding. 

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Continue to tell your story @kindaafraid! What you do and who you are has purpose in the world and it will make sense in the right place and right time. Even though I am not Muslim and can never understand what it is like is to be one, I'll continue to support those like you. 

Admission is not able to discriminate on the basis of nationality, religion, sexual orientation etc. Just when/if you get accepted be in touch with International Services at your university. They will do all that they can to help you. 

As for Trump, I could be not giving enough fucks about him because of my cultural privilege, but I think he's doing everything to please a certain demographic of America. Thankfully there are freedom fighters out there that will continue to resist. I have a feeling that Trump will accomplish very little and America will be a battleground for the next four years. 

Good Luck! Always here to chat if need be. 

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Hey - I am Turkish, also culturally Muslim although not covered. I was in the exact same spot in 2009 applying for my undergrad but Obama had just gotten elected and the climate was completely different. Agree with Poodle Doodle, continue to tell your story and don't give up your push to succeed. It does depend where you are in America but in Chicago it has been incredible to see people from different communities come together against the executive order. I don't know what will happen in terms of visa issuance but eventually the order will have to hold up in court, which it may not. Don't lose hope! In the years I have lived in the US I have always felt the support and welcome of the right people, and I don't intend to please any racist bigots by giving up my livelihood. 

 

In terms of practical issues that may come up as you navigate life here, I hope that cosmopolitan academic communities will be mostly safe places. I am sad to say they have not always been safe for minorities, during my undergrad police would stop African American students and ask to see student IDs, which is horrible. Things seemed to be improving slightly before the election, ugh. 

 

Best of luck to you! 

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@kindaafraid sending warm vibes your way in these uncertain times. Your fears are very valid and you have to protect yourself to the best of your ability. But don't give up! As disgusting as the actions of the Trump administration are and even though he was elected, many Americans are also fighting to preserve your ability to chase your dreams. Many schools are pledging to protect its students by providing legal fees if needed, not disclosing immigration status, etc. These schools have immigration lawyers that will fight for your F1 visa. 

Like Mina said, hate is very real even on liberal campuses, both systematic (my school's police also racially profiled black students) and occurring on a loud-but-small basis (there have been neo-nazi flyers appearing, but the majority of the community is very angry and quickly tearing them down). Art is more important than ever to tell your story—don't lose hope! 

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@kindaafraid and @minakoruk Power to you both! Regardless of what you choose to do or where you go, I wish you both safety and fulfillment.

For myself, I'm a Filipino living in the Philippines and have applied to schools in US, Hong Kong, and UK. This is my first ever go at applications. I was very nervous last year when I'd decided to take the leap, especially since a former professor warned me and my friend that anything could happen that could bar us from moving to the States for MFA (he himself had been accepted into Brown but then 9/11 happened). However, I'd like to think that US schools will be more interested this time around to see what their international applicants have to offer. It seems as good a time as any to make classes more diverse than ever before, to hear different viewpoints on the uptick in populism/modern fascism in many parts of the world. My own statements of purpose detailed my motivation to explore political commentary in illustration and graphic design.

So I guess I just want to pipe in and say that, fellow international applicants, what we're doing now might be difficult, but whatever comes out of it could only be good. I wish you all the best of luck!

(Adding a question here, just to keep the ball rolling: how intense are grad offices' investigations of international applicants, usually? My friend and I were nervously joking with each other that we'd need to lock up our Twitters, as we both RT and write a lot of stuff that's critical of not only our own government but America's as well [how can we not, when everything they do affects us?] I'm not sure if this a naive or paranoid question, but would advisers looking up applicants for admission/scholarship go as far as to hunt down our social media accounts? Of course the schools I've applied to pledge they don't discriminate based on race or creed, but I imagine discourse and praxis are a whole 'nother ball game. Hope this question makes sense. Thank you very much in advance!)

 

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@sylviecerise @minakoruk 

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Thank You guys! Thankfully there are Americans that care. 

@Slowly Great question. That might not be something that will come up during your admissions process but definitely when/if you interview for an F-1 visa at the U.S embassy. I interviewed for a B-1/B-2 a few months ago and the interviewer literally was asking me about an art project I worked on almost three months ago and why I did it in the U.S? He purused my website and I am guessing had some level of access to my Facebook. (I started making all of my statuses friends only henceforth). Especially considering how nebulous this current administration is in regards to immigration, I would curate your social media appearance a bit. Sucks, i know. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Poodle-Doodle

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@Poodle-Doodle Why thank you for that helpful answer! I realize now that my worry was only covering the admissions aspect and I hadn't thought about visa applications. Your experience with your interview actually sounds quite scary - I'm quite sure now it'll be more intense this coming year (the usual incompetence of our government agencies notwithstanding). I've already taken the precaution making both my Twitter and Facebook private/friends only for the time being. Here's hoping I haven't missed anything. :P

@kindaafraid I agree with you that it's heartening to see so many Americans organizing/taking to the streets to voice their dissent. It encourages me that tiniest bit to proceed with my applications. :) Here in my home country the protests have become louder and more frequent as well (I've joined several myself), so while I do feel a measure of guilt that I won't be able to contribute my physical presence to the cause, I can at least spread word of it to the vast audience in the USA.

Re: Filipinos' attitude towards LGBT - I suppose what we do have going for us is there at least aren't any laws criminalizing LGBT people, though of course same-sex marriage is still not legalized here. In fact, some House representatives have been lobbying for an Anti-Discrimination Bill for months now, but it hasn't been moving forward. Socially/culturally, I can tell you that yes, there is a general growing "acceptance" that LGBT people exist - still in its early stages, though. Gay men and transgender women have the most exposure (yes, unfortunate implications), especially in our pop culture. Lesbians (I being one) aren't "celebrated" as much. There is, interestingly, a good number of LGBT celebrities in the Philippines - not just gay men, but also lesbians, trans men and women, etc. They have to endure their fair share of typecasting for sure, but they're visible, which I think is a step forward. You may have even heard of our transgender politician whom we elected last year.

(I would like to mention here, because this is something I'm vocal about: The LGBT who are usually visible/celebrated in our pop culture are, to put it bluntly, rather Westernized portraits of queerness. They're often conventionally attractive [fair skin, Western features], well-off, well-educated, "cultured". The LGBT poor are still often ridiculed for being "tacky" and "ugly".)

Firsthand experience, I had the great luck of taking my undergrad at a university well-known for its progressiveness. I had zero problems being out among my friends and in my many classes. It's sad that's not the case for the LGBT students who go to some of our other universities which are predominantly traditional, Catholic-run institutions. I'm happy at least to tell you that among my generation, and the younger ones after us, LGBT acceptance and discussion is VERY good.

Hope this clears things up for you. Didn't mean to ramble like that, hehe.

I wish you all the best of luck as well! :) 

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You guys are all amazing!! Really really lookig forward to seeing all your wonderful work where you address these issues and more ?

re: online profiles. I think it is wise to actually have a modest amount of public activity that shows you are a good candidate who has integrity. I recently went through the extreme vetting process that is the marriage based green card. If anyone thinks gc candidates arent subjected to extreme vetting they are mistaken! It helped to have a website and twitter where I shared things about my home life and what I do for a living. They definitely had looked me up lol. But yes, very very wise to refrain from anti Americanism and exposing too much.

As for visa applications, if you can show them that you are coming to the US to study and intend to return after graduation you will most likely be ok. 

I think (I would hope) art schools are very invested in different voices and people from various walks of life. If your work addresses these issues I think everyone in your community will have much to learn from it ☺️

 

ps sorry for all the typos 

Edited by minakoruk

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2 hours ago, minakoruk said:

You guys are all amazing!! Really really lookig forward to seeing all your wonderful work where you address these issues and more ?

re: online profiles. I think it is wise to actually have a modest amount of public activity that shows you are a good candidate who has integrity. I recently went through the extreme vetting process that is the marriage based green card. If anyone thinks gc candidates arent subjected to extreme vetting they are mistaken! It helped to have a website and twitter where I shared things about my home life and what I do for a living. They definitely had looked me up lol. But yes, very very wise to refrain from anti Americanism and exposing too much.

As for visa applications, if you can show them that you are coming to the US to study and intend to return after graduation you will most likely be ok. 

I think (I would hope) art schools are very invested in different voices and people from various walks of life. If your work addresses these issues I think everyone in your community will have much to learn from it ☺️

 

ps sorry for all the typos 

 
 
 
 
 

@minakoruk yeah I agree with you. Just for clarity, I'm not saying to make yourself invisible but rather to curate your opinions and chose who has access to certain thoughts. For instance I am black and queer, I like to think about myself as being somewhat radical. A few weeks ago I decide to make friends only, things that would spook out someone that doesn't know me, that way my public appearance isn't as nuanced. I was critical on white male supremacy and white male privilege directly after the election seeing as how his opponent was lambasted for things that really wasn't even her fault or doesn't even affect her ability to lead. I think that can give people an unfair shot at who I am as a person, so only people that know me have access to those thoughts. People who don't know me might think that I just don't like white people when that's not true I just find that system that privileges whiteness as problematic. To avoid confusion only my friends can engage in these topics with me on places like facebook but i do have everyday things like show information, residencies, articles, daily activities listed on my Facebook etc. 

But to be honest my politics are embedded in my art, so there's no hiding that. 

Edited by Poodle-Doodle

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1 hour ago, Poodle-Doodle said:

@minakoruk yeah I agree with you. Just for clarity, I'm not saying to make yourself invisible but rather to curate your opinions and chose who has access to certain thoughts. For instance I am black and queer, I like to think about myself as being somewhat radical. A few weeks ago I decide to make friends only, things that would spook out someone that doesn't know me, that way my public appearance isn't as nuanced. I was critical on white male supremacy and white male privilege directly after the election seeing as how his opponent was lambasted for things that really wasn't even her fault or doesn't even affect her ability to lead. I think that can give people an unfair shot at who I am as a person, so only people that know me have access to those thoughts. People who don't know me might think that I just don't like white people when that's not true I just find that system that privileges whiteness as problematic. To avoid confusion only my friends can engage in these topics with me on places like facebook but i do have everyday things like show information, residencies, articles, daily activities listed on my Facebook etc. 

But to be honest my politics are embedded in my art, so there's no hiding that. 

oh you are totally right, i hope my reply didn't come off as questioning your decision. godspeed ?

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So now that we are here, here's the pink elephant in the room. How do you guys plan on affording grad school? What are your strategies? Whatever you do think hard before taking out a loan to pay international tuition unless it is absolutely the route you want to take. I am super poor and really hoping for a really good deal economically. 

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@tugbamina_871 @Poodle-Doodle, thank you for the additional advice. It's a very tricky scale to tilt, I continue to realize. (Btw @tugbamina_871 congratulations on coming out of the green card screening process in one piece! That sounds terrifying). I'll look into my Facebook and decide which posts I think are safe to be public, perhaps. And I've slowly been cobbling a website together; hopefully I'll have it up in time for visa apps :)
 

20 hours ago, kindaafraid said:

@Poodle-Doodle & @Slowly: Shout out to all queer POCs! :D

Thank you, hehe! How worrying to hear of the LGBT situation in your country, though. Power to you as you continue to navigate such a space.

On the topic of funding - Admittedly my family is quite financially secure (I still live with my parents; lucky me that over here, people tend to stay at home til they get married), but still, 100% shouldering grad school with personal funding is out of the question, not possible. As of the moment, with no word yet from any of the schools I applied to, I think you and I are in the same boat @Poodle-Doodle, and hoping to snag at least partial funding at any of them. UAL Camberwell has an excellent £25k scholarship it's offering to 8 int'l students, which I will be gunning for. Also, I specifically applied to SVA due to its nearness to an aunt I have who immigrated to the US long ago and now lives in New York. If accepted there I can easily live with her and cut down on living costs. Other than that, I fully intend on taking a part-time job while at grad school, if not related to my discipline, at least something to give me a little more pocket money. I have a friend currently studying in London who earns on the side by manning her school's booth at college fairs.

Interested to hear other people's answers to the question above. :)

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in the US you can work up to 19.5 hours a week on campus, including service jobs that dont require 100% of your time all the time. Pro: you earn money and can work legally as an international student. Con: less time to make art. There might be private foundations in your home country that may dispense small bursaries. You can also try to contact large companies that may be able to sponsor certain things in exchange for artwork. If you have local materials companies or at least national branches for int'l ones (paint, paper, canvas) you can ask them to donate materials. 

 

Edit: If I remember correctly Royal College of Art had a list of private foundations in the UK that support students from specific areas and countries of the world. If you end up in the UK you can try and apply to those. 

Edited by tugbamina_871

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