May 18, 2020
Dear International Graduate Students,
As the spring semester comes to a close, we wanted to write to express our continued commitment to support your health, safety, and personal and educational growth. As a community, we have joined together in virtual forums over the last two months to sustain connections and make new ones, and we have engaged in ongoing teaching and learning across time zones and geographic boundaries. The impact that the pandemic has had on international students during this period informs all of our considerations.
In response to President Paxson’s message earlier this month regarding scenario planning for the fall, we heard concerns from many of you about potential barriers to returning to campus. We know that international students face challenges with consular closings and travel restrictions, and navigating summer internships and post-completion employment opportunities has become even more complex. In response, the Global Brown team has been working closely with our professional associations, including NAFSA Association of International Educators and Brown’s Office of Government and Community Relations, to seek to address these challenges.
For the summer, the University is offering additional opportunities for students to participate in educational activities/programming remotely. The Graduate School has announced a number of initiatives which are available to international graduate students, including enhanced summer funding, extended time for students with disrupted research or academic progress, extended health insurance coverage for recently graduating students, and a pool of funds available for those facing immediate financial hardships.
Additionally, Global Brown has offered virtual engagement opportunities for the international student community, ranging from virtual coffee hours and workshops with CAPS, to open conversations with the Office of International Students and Scholar Services (OISSS) regarding the impact of COVID-19 on travel, visa issuance, employment and work authorization. Last week, OISSS sponsored a well-attended virtual presentation by an immigration attorney tailored specifically for international students and scholars.
Staff at the Global Brown Center for International Students will remain available as we transition into the summer months, and are always looking for new ways to bring our communities together. You can sign up for the Global Brown Center’s newsletter here or email its Program Director at [email protected] if you would like to know more.
During these uncertain times, please know that we are here to help and support you. I encourage you to reach out directly if you need anything. I wish you a successful completion to the spring semester.
Shayna Kessel on behalf of the Global Brown team
Shayna Kessel, PhD
Associate Dean of Master's Education
Interim Associate Dean for International Graduate Students