Foreign Students Start College and Uni

Fall arrives in glorious red, gold, orange and yellow on many university campuses across the United States. With this show come the frequently asked questions of the season: How does a VAWA applicant study at college? Does an asylum applicant need a visa to study?

No Visa Required to Study

Visas are not always required. Foreigners in the United States with authorization can usually study. For example, those with work permits do not need a student visa to attend university, including applicants of asylum or the Violence Against Women Act. Again, applicants can study years before they get a decision on their immigration case.

The United States is the land of opportunity not only for short-term money but also for long-term career changes. Sometimes we study to feel alive, to improve or learn skills we’ve been dreaming about for a lifetime. This is my case with the Master of Fine Arts program for non-fiction. My peers are working to become writers, publishers, and professors.

The College Benefit of Networking at the University

Students also hope for a steadier financial future. Such was my mother’s situation after she emigrated from Cuba. While raising two children and working, she obtained her master’s degree in education. Teachers with graduate degrees earn a higher salary.

For asylum and VAWA applicants, in need of a supportive community, the benefit of studying at a university may be networking. Friends and acquaintances not only support each other while in school, but also help each other find jobs or promotions after graduation. These relationships endure, perhaps longer than many others. One asylum applicant I know is still friends with four mates he met in college, forty years ago.

Education, whether at a university or elsewhere, is critical and available to the foreign born. For longevity, for improved mental health and cognitive functioning, for friendships. Turn off the television. Sign off the social media. The golden leaves are speaking, Live your one wild and precious life.

Disclaimer – These entries are based on real life events. Family member names, when used, are real. Client names are changed for privacy.

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