Meet the candidates running for International Students Officer in the SU elections

Voting closes on Thursday


With this year's SU election fully in swing, it's time to meet the candidates who could be running Bristol SU next year. Take a look at their answers to get more information on who to vote for. But, be quick — voting is only open from 12-14 of March!

Hadya Shawky

3rd year Law student

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What makes you the best candidate for this role?

“As I am in my fourth year as an international student, I have experienced every aspect of international student life. I have ran a volunteering project and have been Secretary of Global Justice Now Society. Of course it was challenging sometimes — especially as I tended to be the only international student at the things I did.

"I understand how hard it can be for international students to put themselves out there. So, I want to create a welcoming uni environment where international students feel empowered to achieve anything they want. Also, being an Egyptian now living in Bristol, I have experienced different cultures.”

What is the most impressive part of your manifesto?

“I would have to say the Global Lounge because we really need a space that represents the diversity of our student body and a space to chill. Inclusive careers support is important as it’s hard for international students to find internships with visa restrictions.

“Also, a huge number of international students worry about their finances and struggle to keep up with their finances. So, the Uni the campaign to create a hardship fund is definitely something I think we need.”

What’s the biggest change you want to bring to UoB students?

“I’d like to see more representation of international students whether that be on the curriculum, Careers Service or SU. It is disheartening because sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re part of the Uni. So, I’d like to create that change.”

Where’s your favourite place to go on a Bristol night out?

“I think any local live gig in Stokes Croft.”

Shailaja Laxman

MSc Education

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What makes you the best candidate for this role?

“I have been in the university since September 2018, and in the last few months, I have a good understanding of where the University is at. I have been working as a Senior Resident in the University Hall and an active member of few societies at the University. The University and Students Union as such is doing such an incredible job in helping the international students settle, but there are some problems we still need to work on.

“I am suitable for this role because I am here to listen and to get the job done by representing all the international students who come to The University of Bristol to study. I promise to do more groundwork by talking to students on campus and understanding those small issues that can be easily neglected. I want to make Bristol a better place for all international students both academically and in terms of enjoying living in a new place full of opportunities and experiences.”

What is the most impressive part of your manifesto?

“I wouldn't mention this as an impressive part of my manifesto, but I would suggest it as compulsory. While writing my manifesto I wanted my core principles to be around overall student development in a new environment. Hence my manifesto has three essential stages which include Educational development, Student development, and Social Development.”

What’s the biggest change you want to bring to UoB students?

“I want all students to feel safe at the University and feel proud of who or where they are from. I don't want people to feel defined or confined by their background, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. I want students to understand that we all are here to study and gain knowledge to do great things in life. Where you are from doesn't matter but where we go from here matters.

“The most significant change would be seeing people not be labeled at the University and university should be a place where we all thrive and have a collective launch pad into the future.”

Where’s your favourite place to go on a Bristol night out?

“Honestly, I have not been out a lot — one year masters is quite intense! But I do like Thekla — it's on a boat. Small venue with good gigs.”

Julius Ogayo

Public Policy

What makes you the best candidate for this role?

"Previously I have been involved in student affairs, I have been elected to be a student representative right from my undergraduate program and I have also been here in Bristol specifically. I have also been a course representative at the school level and faculty level.

"I am also a member of BU student education network where I have been involved in shaping the policies of education. I was also elected an events officer for the disabled students’ network. So I have the experience to actually articulate the issues of students."

What is the most impressive part of your manifesto?

"International students have a challenge. When your student visa is due to expire, maybe you are lucky to get a job or internship for that matter, it is important that students get some work experience so that after graduation they have some skills to get employment. Sometimes we find that you are lucky to get an internship or a job somewhere, but because the University is responsible for your visa, once you are done with your studies, it is expected that you have to go back maybe to your country because the University may no longer take responsibility for your visa.

"If I am elected I want to negotiate with the Uni, that upon such occasion that the student has got some kind of opp like work or maybe internship that is a means to further him, give him skills to be independent in life, to be able to compete effectively or competitively in the job market then the University should come up with a measure through which they can help this student prolong his visa for a certain period to enable him or her to effectively take up that picture and learn something. Maybe six months or one year."

What’s the biggest change you want to bring to UoB students?

"I know the University is inclusive, but a lot still needs to be done. We need proper inclusivity here. My main goal and agenda will be to make UoB more inclusive, a home away from home. Some international students sometimes feel they are not part of the team. If elected and given an opportunity, I will ensure that there is cohesiveness and proper integration of all students at the university of Bristol and this will help to motivate us as students and bring a very dynamic and progressive culture within the University.

Where’s your favourite place to go on a Bristol night out?

"The Bridge. I like it so much. I like the scenery. Also the top of senate house. The aerial view is magnificent. I also love the zoo, it’s a very nice place."

Cover Image: Google Maps