In a first for Scripps College, an international student advisor will facilitate the academic and institutional needs of international students. Ge-Yao Liu arrived at Scripps this semester, coming from a post as associate director for the Center of Global Engagement at San Francisco State University.
Liu has worked in international education for over 20 years in areas including international outreach, partnerships and admissions, immigration advising and teaching English as a Second Language.
“For this semester, my goals include but are not limited to learning more about the College, and the specific needs of our international students, so I will be able to better serve them,” Liu said in an email to TSL.
The Claremont Colleges’ previous centralized support system for international students, I-Place, shut down at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. Many international students have since struggled with the closure, according to Rhea Malhotra SC ’23, a co-head of the Scripps International Community and an international intern with Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE), which focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion and designs workshops and programs for community building.
Since most international students lack adult and familial support in the United States, the loss of administrative support was a tough blow, Malhotra said. She added that resources were spread out and confusing to access, resulting in high stress levels for international students.
Now, however, students hope that Liu’s appointment indicates efforts from Scripps to implement a more centralized and efficient resource pipeline.
“While [our community is] small, our needs are very specific, and I’m just happy that we’re getting the support that we need and that we deserve,” Malhotra said. “So I am very excited about this international advisor position with Ge-Yao, because he’s going to be a point of contact for international students.”
Malhotra worked with SCORE and Liu to host a meet and greet event for international students over Zoom at the end of January.
“[Liu] is very knowledgeable about a lot of the intricacies of what it means to be an F-1 [visa-holding] student,” Malhotra said. “He is very good-hearted; he wants to support international students, and honestly, you should see his Calendly!”
Liu emphasized that his goal for this semester is to learn more about the college and the needs of the international students to best support them.
“As a part-time staff at Scripps, I will try to be the best resource, be available and accessible to them when they need assistance,” Liu said.
While students are excited about increased administrative support, Malhotra expressed concern about the lack of a full-time staff member.
“For now, starting off as part-time is good, but I would hope for it to become a full-time position,” Malhotra said.
She said life as an international student at Scripps is a “little bit of a mixed bag” because of the community’s small population — five percent of 1,082 undergraduate students — and tight, familial bonds. The Scripps international community is very diverse, and different affinity groups have different needs, she said.
“I really appreciate the support that Scripps is now giving us and I can’t wait to see what Ge-Yao does,” she said.