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Although party representative Shifat Rahman states that the International Students party focuses on the rights of all students, the party was originally founded in 2017 to represent international students in the Student Parliament. Do exchange students indeed feel that the party program of this faction aligns with their needs?

The party program

According to Rahman, the party program will mostly be focusing on four points this year: There should be easier access to mental health care for students, libraries should have more books available and be open 24/7, public transport should have more student discounts, and cheap accommodations should be available to all students. The written party program of the faction also mentions that the party aims for “student mobilization, to make UiB a diverse institution”.

– We have a lot of incoming exchange students at UiB, but we found that there are less Norwegian students going abroad, says Rahman.

– We want to make sure that more students from UiB, and also university staff, should go and come back: Mobilization promotes a sharing of knowledge, which can make institutions more diverse.

Students’ reactions

Kerasia Korre (from Greece), Dimitris Spiridakis (also from Greece) and Tobias (from Germany) are all exchange students at UiB. They mostly agree with the party program of the International Students party. For example, all of them consider it a good idea to have more study books available at the library.

– Some of these books are really expensive, especially compared to the prices in my homeland, says Spiridaki.

Although they also agree that it would be a good idea to extend the opening hours of libraries (“students have a really hard schedule”, thinks Spiridaki), Korre finds that

– it would be sufficient for just one library to be open 24/7.

The three exchange students think there is indeed a need for more student discounts on public transport services as well; especially since

– students are the ones who need to make use of public transport the most, thinks Korre.

Furthermore, all three students consider it a good idea for more UiB students and staff to go abroad in order to broaden their horizon, and are in favour of 24/7 access to mental health care for students.

– I think 24/7 hour access would be good, because especially for exchange students there are a lot of factors that can affect their mental health, adds Tobias.

Still, Korre does have some critical remarks on this last point:

– Sammen already provides support. Not 24/7, but if you have a problem, you can get help. For someone who doesn’t have the opportunity to call friends or family members when they’re lonely, this could be a nice solution; but professionals would have to be on standby day and night, so I don’t know how realistic this request is.