Nord students to head national union

Jose de Pool and Lindah Chido Matsapa will work to improve the economic and social situation of international students in Norway.

In June 2018, Jose de Pool (21) will assume the National Presidency of the International Students' Union of Norway (ISU) and will act as ISU's foremost external representative. Lindah Chido Matsapa (23) assumes the role of Vice-Chair of ISU's National Board.

Jose, originally from Venezuela, and Lindah, from Zimbabwe, are both currently studying biology at Nord University.

Article continues below photo.

Jose de Pool and Lindah Matsapa are passionate about promoting the rights of international students in Norway (photo: Per Jarl Elle).

Solid experience and a good cause

"It was a close race", says Jose of the national elections.

Nevertheless, Jose's experience in the sector and in the field of administrative science placed him as a front-runner.

"I have worked closely with ISU previously, as well as with Nord's International Office and International Committee. I also work really hard for what I believe in".

Jose has identified some important causes he intends to pursue in his new role, including better language services, both Norwegian language courses for all international students, and improved information in English.

Internationalisation of study programmes and development of international partner agreements are also on the agenda. Not least, Jose expresses a passion for the economic wellbeing of international students in Norway.

Critical to study permit fees

Mention of a recent increase in study permit fees provokes a particularly strong reaction from the new National President.

"The visa fee needs to be maintained at its current level. The last fee hike corresponded to an increase of 60 per cent. It is one of the highest fees among the Nordic countries.

In most cases, international students have to pay this fee each year. I have paid mine three times already. It might not seem like a lot of money, but it is for a student. Especially one who is restricted to working 20 hours a week.

I intend to work hard to avoid further increases," promises Jose.

Nord colleagues

One of Jose's closest colleagues will be fellow Nord student, Lindah Chido Matsapa, soon-to-be Vice-Chair of ISU's National Board.

The Vice-Chair may substitute the Chair in his or her absence, set the agenda for and chair board meetings, as well as ensure implementation of decisions adopted by the board.

When asked how she will contribute to the work of ISU in 2018, Lindah is clear.

"I have a passion for justice. I can face challenges and provide solutions. This is an opportunity to ensure that our academic, social and economic values are upheld, not least the principle and value of diversity."

About ISU

The International Students' Union of Norway, founded in 1981, is committed to promoting the social, academic and political interests of all international students studying in Norway. ISU is an independent, democratic, non-profit, non-partisan organisation run for and by international students (text from ISU's website).

Read more about ISU at Nord University.

About the National Presidency

The national presidency is ISU's top managerial appointment.

The National President represents ISU Norway in its external activities, including in meetings with partners and government.

The National President is elected by the National Assembly and leads the Executive Board, ISU's governing body.

The Executive Board 2018

National President: Jose de Pool (Nord University)

Union Development Officer: Sam Davis (Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Political Affairs Officer: Almim Hossain Shuvo (University of South-East Norway)