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Sophia D'Angelo

Candidate for International Officer

What do you want to achieve during your term?

During my term, I would like to help create a feeling of community and group cohesion on campus and throughout Cambridge. This means giving academic support to international students as well as organizing events that promote cultural understanding and advocate for collaboration among both international and native students alike.

What experience do you bring to the role?

I have experience living internationally, working with diverse employees, and giving training on intercultural competency. I also was Social Chair of my University soccer team and have experience planning large events and gatherings.

How would you like to collaborate with International Officers in the MCRs?

I am sure that I can learn a lot from the International Officers of the MCRs and the work that they have already done with the Graduate students of their Colleges. I would appreciate them allowing me to come speak to their students to publicize events that I plan at the University level and would welcome them to help organize and arrange intercollegiate dinners, trips, dances, and other socials.

What do you think the most difficult thing about being an international graduate student is, and how can the GU improve the situation?

The most difficult aspect about being an international student is probably coping with the cycle of adaptation to a new culture here in the U.K. On a practical level, I think the GU can offer immediate guidance with detailed information on basic transitional needs such as opening up a bank account, getting a phone, and understanding Cambridge culture, terminology, and academic expectations. On a more socio-emotional level, I think we could offer a constant network of support and camaraderie in order to care for and assist international students in whatever stage of their travels they may be. According to the expatriate adjustment cycle, people living abroad often don’t have trouble adapting until after several months into their stay, when the excitement of a new environment has worn off, and they become homesick. They then encounter culture shock and it is during these times that we need to offer our international community the most support possible.

What do you think the relationship between the GU and CUSU's autonomous International Students' Campaign should be?

Together, the GU and CUSU should campaign in the interests of all students—undergraduates and postgraduates—and offer them both academic and welfare support. It is important to note also, that as International Officer, my plan is to include everyone, internationals and natives of the U.K. It is just as important, if not more, for international students to learn about their host country. I hope that together with CUSU and other officers of the GU we can organize events within Cambridge and other parts of the nation to promote cultural understanding, forge meaningful relationships, and continue to work towards unity and cohesion.