As an international student, you could face all sorts of insecurities during your study abroad experience.
There’s the threat of social anxiety, in which you might fear that you’re being left out of university gatherings or friendship circles and feel troubled by a lack of social interaction with peers.
There’s the fear of failure, where you start to feel insecure about recent exam results or uncertain about what your future might hold.
There’s also the issue of food insecurity. For some international students, the risk of hunger is a serious barrier that stops their academic aspirations from becoming a reality.
As The Conversation reports, university students in South Africa are in the midst of a food crisis that’s preventing them from completing their studies and disrupting their path towards professional success.
Focus on food insecurity at Stellenbosch University – Part 1
Many of our students experience food insecurity and even have to attend class on an empty stomach. See how a group of students is addressing this. Read more: https://t.co/mqNbaPR5lU pic.twitter.com/w0NugXYFOw
— Stellenbosch Univ (@StellenboschUni) July 26, 2018
According to the article, “Studies show that, on average, nearly a third of students at the country’s universities live with food insecurity. The actual numbers might be even higher since some students may be ashamed to admit that they’re poor and hungry.”
In addition, “Hunger reduces the ability to concentrate on studying, to write fluently, or to perform well in exams. Researchers have suggested that not having access to enough nutritionally adequate and safe food could be one of the reasons why almost half of South African university students never graduate.”
The fact that some students around the world aren’t able to continue their studies due to hunger disrupting their concentration during study sessions is a very sad reality.
A multitude of NGOs and Food Banks in South Africa and beyond are trying to conquer this worrying issue, attempting to supply aspiring graduates with a second chance at completing their education.
But this obstacle is not exclusive to South Africa and is, in fact, widespread. It’s a dilemma that faces university students on all corners of the world.
As food insecurity is a global issue, it affects a diverse selection of international students each year.
1-in-4 students in the Cal State University system experience food insecurity. To combat this, the ASI Beach Pantry was created at CSU Long Beach, the alma mater for many P2S staff. We’re collecting donations to keep students fed. Have you donated yet? https://t.co/R4ndrzDfUa pic.twitter.com/n066AX7PdU
— P2S Inc. (@P2S_inc) August 24, 2018
On a positive note, this issue is being addressed by thousands of universities, with international appeals also attracting a growing number of volunteers.
So, if you’re ever concerned about not being able to finish your studies due to food security issues, don’t be shy to contact your university’s student support team or students’ union. It’s their duty to help.
Alternatively, if you’re keen to take a hands-on approach to this current food crisis and hope to grant fellow learners a great start to their careers, take a look at this NGO that’s always open to donations!