Letter to the Editor | Bridging the Gap: Challenges Faced by Caribbean Students at FIU

"The inconsistencies as well as the delayed process create a system of uncertainty for students." | Graphic by Elise Gregg on Canva, PantherNOW

Jordan-Ashley Brown | Events and Marketing Coordinator for Jamaican Students Union | Criminal Justice,

Being a student at FIU it is important to note and appreciate the diverse experience of students within our esteemed academic community. I will shed light on a particular issue that our international community in particular our Caribbean students encounter during their transition into the American school system, specifically FIU.

Navigating the intricacies of a new educational landscape can be a daunting task for any student but for those arriving from the Caribbean, the obstacles faced can be extreme as well. One such obstacle is that of Academic Advising and the arduous process of credit transfer, a procedure that can significantly impact academic trajectory and the overall college experience.

It can be very disheartening to observe disparities that are attached to the credit transfer system that leave international students with delays. What is currently in place seems to lack efficiency in providing students with adequate information and understanding to seamlessly integrate their prior academic achievements into the FIU framework.

FIU must recognize these unique educational tapestries and proactively develop comprehensive
evaluation standards that consider the rigor and content of these varied curricula. Moreover, it is crucial to establish and maintain transparent and easily accessible guidelines and for students to understand the credit transfer and recognition procedures as clear communication on the criteria for evaluating examinations will empower international students to make informed decisions about their academic journey.

The inconsistencies as well as the delayed process create a system of uncertainty for students.
Additionally, the complexities surrounding academic advising present formidable barriers to our international students as navigating an unfamiliar system is overwhelming. Every country’s school system is structured differently and uniquely.

Our current academic advising structure may not be adequately equipped to provide
the tailored support these students need to understand their path at FIU and how the resources at FIU will help them achieve their academic goals. Strengthening our advising resources and cultural competency among advisors will contribute to a more inclusive environment.

As we pride ourselves on being a diverse and inclusive institution, it is imperative that we actively engage in dialogue to identify and rectify these challenges. In partnership with SGA, we will address these concerns in a Townhall on February 9th, 2024, at 6 pm in GC 150. By doing so, we not only enrich the experiences of our international students but fortify FIU as a beacon of educational excellence that embraces its global community.

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board, nor does the Board necessarily endorse the content of letters to the editor. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of members of the university community and beyond. All letters to the editor are published with respect to PantherNOW’s role as a public forum for free expression at FIU.

Want to write a letter to the editor? You can respond to this letter or write your own. Email fiusmeditor@gmail.com with a piece no longer than 400 words. Text is edited for length, not for grammar, spelling or clarity. Letters may not include promotion, calls to action or hate speech. Students must send their full name, year and major and Panther I.D. Faculty must send their full name, department and postion at the university

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