International students work harder for visas - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

International students work harder for visas

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August 27, 2003

Americus- Minsoon Kim is already a nurse. But she eventually wants to get her masters degree.

"But I cannot understand English well and I cannot speak English well," Kim said.

So she's a student at Georgia Southwestern University's English Language Institute. This is where she'll strengthen her English-speaking skills. But before she could come here from South Korea, she had to get a visa, and that's a lot harder than it used to be.

"They look at me as a criminal," Kim said. "We feel that feeling."

Making the visas harder to get may be keeping our country safe, just like security in dorms keeps students safe. College leaders say stricter security is good for schools and students. The process has been abused in the past, sometimes perhaps allowing students into the country who shouldn't have been here.

"I think the policing effort has cleaned up a lot of that," said Gary Fallis, GSW's Director of Admissions.

At Georgia Southwestern most international students did not have trouble getting their visa. There are between 70 to 100 on campus. College administrators say the value of having them here is immeasurable. Especially when 60 percent of the students have spent most of their lives in South Georgia.

"Not only from the diversity stand point, but just the character they add to the college," Fallis said.

So, Minsoon feels lucky to have her visa.

"They give the expression that they don't want to give us the F-1 visa and they are very strict."

And lucky to have the chance to take her nursing skills to a higher level.

posted at 10:05 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com