The International Committee is a brand new committee introduced in the fall of 2020. It aims to increase the internationalization of the union and encourage the participation of international students in LundaEkonomerna events. Lundtan spoke to the Project Leader of the International Committee, Felicia Zheng to get to know the committee and see what plans they have for the upcoming semesters.
What is your role in the committee?
“My role in the committee as the Project Leader is to overlook all operations along with my Vice Project Leader, Trim. We discuss tasks with the individual committee members and follow through to check up on the progress. The most important part is however to see how everyone is
doing and create a space with positive group dynamics.”
What is the main purpose of the committee?
“The main purpose is to increase the integration of international and Swedish students at LUSEM. This is especially important for exchange students that come only for one semester, as it is really difficult to settle into the Swedish culture as well as understand LUSEM as a union in such a short period of time. They often don’t receive enough information about what is going on and it is, therefore, difficult to understand how the union works. Even for Swedish students, it takes a while to get to know the committees, how to apply, what it is, and the value of it. We, therefore, hope to be able to create events that will encourage more international students and exchange students to become active and join events organized by LUSEM.”
Why do you think now was the right time to create a committee focused on internationalization and increasing engagement from international students?
“There actually was an International Committee a few years ago so I wouldn’t necessarily say that now specifically is the right time. I think it is a shame that they never continued with the committee because I believe that there really is a need for this project. But I am assuming that since international students at LUSEM are increasing, the union is putting more resources into focusing on internationalization and therefore the International Committee. I think we’re realizing that with 1000 international students at LUSEM, it is strange that not more are engaged
in events hosted by the union.”
What plans do you have for the upcoming semesters?
“We’ve had quite a few plans such as having a meet-and-greet with all the exchange students, bike party with exchange students, a pub quiz for both international and Swedish students with randomly placed seating, but we had to, unfortunately, cancel all of this because of Covid-19. However, we are super excited to be able to have a very interesting breakfast lecture very near in the future, so be sure to keep your eye out for that!”
Do you know yet how the Covid-situation will affect the International Week and other events hosted by the committee?
“We haven’t gotten that much information about it yet but are looking into alternative digital solutions. We have already chosen applicants for International Week Barcelona in January but we are not sure whether it will be possible to send them there yet. We will continue to monitor the situation and hope for the best.”
What do you think are the biggest challenges in increasing engagement from international students and how do you plan to tackle them?
“That is a difficult question and we have had quite a few discussions about it. I think one issue is how to market towards international and exchange students and what media is the most effective for getting the information across. From what we have gathered, exchange students often receive
information by mail which is not the most effective source of communication, so we would like to change this. Another challenge is how to create events that attract both Swedish and international students and what factors are deal-breakers for students when deciding to attend the
event or not.”
What events are you looking forward to most?
“I was really looking forward to meeting the exchange students and the pub quiz but right now I am the most excited for our breakfast lecture. I think it will be very fun to be lectured about such an interesting topic. I am also looking forward to planning buddy weeks for the future even though it is possible that we cannot implement it next semester due to the pandemic. The buddy programme is something that we are planning on implementing in the future for exchange students and sort of resembles the novice week but less intense. Exchange students are assigned a mentor that they can keep in contact with for the rest of the term, but during the week we’ll host
events where both exchange students and the mentors attend such as a ‘how-to sittning’ sittning or “Amazing race”. The week works as an introduction to Lund and Swedish student life.”
What is the best thing about being a part of the International Committee?
“The best part is being able to hang out with the committee and get to know new people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. It is really interesting to be surrounded by ambitious people who are really passionate about the subject of internalization and hear their opinions on it. I am really happy about having such a great team as they are all fantastic individuals!”