Meet the new diversity intern!

Depali Rai
Friday 19 March 2021

Hi everyone!

I am Depali, and I am a new intern at the Global Office. I am a third-year undergraduate from London currently studying international relations and modern history.

What my work involves

I am currently working on projects pertaining to diversity and inclusion across our St Andrews abroad partnerships as well as the University of Sanctuary initiatives. Briefly, I am working on creating new pre-departure content and improving best practices within the Global office through building upon student feedback and new research. I aim to provide support and guidance to those from all backgrounds and identities help navigate the global opportunities on offer to them and embed intersectionality in the work of the global office.

Why diversity and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords that get thrown around a lot these days. In approaching this internship, I didn’t want diversity and inclusion to be mindlessly tacked onto the initiatives of the Global Office but something that permeated throughout the programmes and schemes on offer. In working closely with former study abroad students, utilising my own research and collaborating with members of the Global Office team, I am really passionate about making the opportunities offered by the Global Office open to everyone.

Indeed, I was supposed to be studying abroad in sunny Singapore this semester (but instead, stuck in not-so-sunny St Andrews). So, I understand as a female POC myself the considerations that one might undertake when deciding to live and study abroad. Going abroad can be a really enriching life-experience and I want students to be empowered in travelling abroad and temporarily uprooting themselves. I hope the pre-departure content I create will give students peace of mind, knowing they have chosen the right institution/location and right study program. New cultural encounters can be deeply formative, enriching but equally surprising or even uncomfortable. Finding your feet in a new location can be challenging and so, I hope the work I will do in collating information, support and guidance will allow students of all backgrounds to consider studying abroad.

Another key component of my work centres around the University’s new status as a University of Sanctuary. To briefly explain, in 2019, the University of St Andrews was awarded University of Sanctuary status, an initiative that provides scholarships for both undergraduate and postgraduate applicants who are seeking sanctuary in the UK. Eligible applicants are those with official Home Office status as Asylum Seekers, Refugees, those with humanitarian protection, limited leave to remain and discretionary leave to remain. My work with the Global Office and Sanctuary Operations Group revolves around best practice and making sure the scholars are equipped with additional support and guidance during their time at St Andrew’s. The aim is accountability on the university’s part; to supplement scholarships with built-in assistance to ensure that St Andrews is genuinely a welcoming environment. In doing so, the Global Office hopes to foster and support the ways in which students who have experienced forced migration enrich the student community at St Andrews.

In short, I am excited to be helping out and contributing to the work of the Global Office. As higher institutions in the U.K. go, I really do think the work of the Global Office in ensuring that St Andrews is a dynamic and forward-looking university is one of the best things on offer for students.

Have a suggestion for me?

Any ideas, feedback or recommendations would be greatly appreciated! I would love for my work to reflect the wider student body. Any comments or ideas relating to diversity and Study Abroad can be sent over to me at dr96@st-andrews.ac.uk or globaloff-intern@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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