Amine Fquihi, ISU National President. Foto: Ketil Blom Haugstulen

The newly elected leader of international students will address the financial demands of students coming to Norway

Fees. The new president for international students in Norway, Amine Fquihi, has two big issues on his agenda: The visa fees for foreign students, and the financial guarantee requirements.

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Amine Fquihi (29) is the next president of the International Students' Union of Norway. He is French and Moroccan and is doing his master's in Industrial Engineering at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, in Narvik.


ISU National Board 2019-2020

National President: Amine Fquihi

Political Affairs Officer: Mark Boncyk

Union Development Officer: Katrina Herting

Chair: Chawinika Kawthoolei Lahpov

Vice Chair: Camela Haddad

Treasurer: Julia Kamalova

Politial Auditor: Nil Eryılmaz

He has two big issues he wants to do something about: The visa fees for foreign students, and the financial guarantee requirements.

However, Fquihi does not see these issues as something that only concern international students.

— Increased costs to study in Norway has the consequence that Norway only gets the wealthiest students, and not necessarily the best and brightest, he tells Khrono.

In January 2018, the student visa fee increased over 65 percent from 3200 to 5300 Norwegian kroner.

Increased costs to study in Norway has the consequence that Norway only gets the wealthier students, and not necessarily the best and brightest.

Amine Fquihi

— If increased internationalization is a goal for the higher education sector, this visa fee increase has an opposite effect, Fquihi says.

Wants to engage more locally

The president elect is looking forward to the continued cooperation with the National Union of Students (NSO), and he wants to better engage the grass roots part of ISU.

— I want to get local ISU representatives more involved and contribute more in local student politics. We can raise awareness locally of the situation for international students in Norway, he says.


International Student's Union (ISU)

An independent, democratic, non-profit, non-partisan organisation run for and by international students.

ISU has local member organizations at 27 different institutions of higher education in Norway, with the national office in Oslo.

Each member organization has a president, who is responsible for the operation of the branch.

The organization was formed in the late 1970s when a small group of dedicated student activists put their efforts in protecting the welfare and academic situation of international students in Norway.

Source: ISU

— But wont language be a barrier, when participating locally?

— Well yes, but if the local ISU president doesn't speak Norwegian, the student parliament usually provides a translator. This is something to work on, but I am planning to set up meetings with local parliament leaders to discuss issues locally and find out to what extent they are including international students in their student democracies, he says.

Universities offer Norwegian language courses to their international students, and Fquihi took «norsk sprak and samfunnsfag» last year.

— But this year the class in Narvik is closed. I don't know why, but it disappeared from the website, he says.

Hopeful from history

Last year's president gave up on lowering the visa fee before he even went into office. Fquihi is still hopefull - pointing to results in the past:

— ISU has a good history of making changes for international students over the past years. Recently, ISU and NSO stopped the tuition fees for international students. Further back ISU and NSU and StL [now merged to NSO] ended the practice of a student work permit fee and made it possible for one to be granted automatically with a student visa, he says.

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