Our Checking in on the SA series is back with another interview and this time, we spoke to the International Students Officer, Nikko Sikhosana about how she has come through while being apart of the SA committee.
How is your experience as the International Student’s Officer so far?
Nikko: It has been an interesting experience. I have had the opportunity to meet so many different people and learn a lot about their different backgrounds. It has been trying overall trying to sort out things like the language exchange program but it’s definitely an experience I am enjoying.
Are you satisfied with the social interaction scene between the international students and the local students in UNMC now? Do you wish to see any further improvement?
Nikko: I am relatively satisfied with the interaction between local and international students. I would like to see it improve just as any other ISO would, but it’s difficult to tackle an environment where naturally people will always be drawn towards their own people for varying reasons. You can only make change if people are willing to actively take part in it and I will try providing more platforms for people to interact this coming semester but beyond that, it is up to the students to take part.
One of the items that you’ve said in your manifesto is to improve the hygiene status of the vendors on campus. Some of the hygiene status of the vendors such as RK Fathima and the Thai stall is still unsatisfactory and received a lot of complaints from students. The Thai stall’s hygiene rank was rated a C, which was considered unhygienic. Your take on this?
Nikko: As a fellow student, I am well aware of these complaints. Many people have approached me personally or let their frustrations known on UNMC Expressions on the Confessions page, but have not formally complained.
I always urge that when dissatisfied with a service on campus, address them through the appropriate channels such as the caterer feedback form, Hisham’s or my Facebook page, or via email.
This way, the Welfare team has the support of the student body when they try to ask for change from the management. With regards to my manifesto, I have drafted an agreement that is under review to try tackle the problem with regards to the hygiene status on campus. The aim of the agreement is to try to impose some kind of repercussion for stalls that fail to pass inspection. I believe, if accepted, that it may encourage stalls to change hygiene practice.
Nikko and her International Students’ Bureau team (Source: SA Website)
How did the speed dating event go? Any of the participants that met at the event managed to be an actual couple? How do you find this event relevant to your scope of job?
Nikko: The event hasn’t happened actually so I don’t know if any couples will come out of it. I believe the event is relevant to my job scope as it is my duty to provide platforms such as events for students to interact with each other as discussed previously. It isn’t just for people to become couples but to make friends too, and I believe this is one of those opportunities that students will be able to use to interact if they wish.
According to your manifesto, a buddy system will be introduced to ease the communications between international students and local students for Freshers’. Did you managed to reach your goals and have you seen any significant impact from that manifesto?
Nikko: I unfortunately did not fulfill this manifesto point. When it was time to set up the buddy system, I didn’t have the manpower to handle such a large prospect as many members of my team were still in their home countries, as registration for the new intake was slightly earlier than the other students. In addition, there were some problems with IT and many students weren’t receiving emails. Upon review, I decided that I would rather implement the system for a smaller intake such as April intake and when the man power is actually available. Particularly because smaller intakes do not have the same big events as they enter the university and the system would be more beneficial to them.
Written and interviewed by Khairina binti Khairul Nizam
Featured image taken from SA page