Enhancing Support for International Students: Scripps Hires Dedicated International Student Advisor


Ellen Hu ’24

On Feb. 8, Scripps College officially announced that Rebecca (Becky) Kyles was hired to assume the full-time position of International Student Advisor as a member of the Dean of Students Office. This followed a 16-month period in which the college did not have an International Student Advisor, instead placing many of these responsibilities on the Registrar and other international students. 

The announcement was made during an official dinner in the Hampton Room by President Amy Marcus-Newhall and Dean of Students Sha Bradley. The administrators were joined by approximately 40 Scripps international students who participated in further discussions about what support they needed from the college. 

“I was curious to see why they had suddenly started to care,” Tara Zhang ’24, one of the attendees, said. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high, given the relationship we have with administration.”

Previously a part-time position through Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE) known as the International Student Coordinator, the role went unfilled following the leave of the previous coordinator Ge Yao Liu in the fall of 2022. The new International Student Advisor position will be full-time. 

This is the first time that Scripps has hired a full-time administrator with this title, and the change gives Kyles twice as much time to support and affect change in the international student experience at the college when compared to previous administrators in the role. So far, her work at Scripps has supported students in feeling seen and heard. 

This was expressed by Zhang, who encountered issues with her student visa before the spring 2024 semester. Following several days of communication with Scripps, she was able to return to campus albeit missing classes and incurring additional plane expenses. She originally sought reimbursements for these expenses upon her arrival to campus but eventually decided not to pursue it further. 

This experience was communicated to Kyles in a one-on-one meeting, and the next day Zhang received an email asking for the receipts – Kyles would be pursuing key steps in receiving reimbursements on her behalf. “It was so nice and it was like the first time I really felt cared for by the school,” Zhang said. 

In addition to the announcement of Kyle’s role on campus, the dinner served as an open forum for international students to give feedback on their experiences at the college. Everyone had different frustrations but similar problems, most of which the administrators had not been aware of.

Students spoke of the financial, professional, personal, and work problems they face as a result of Scripps’ organization and systems. However, one main topic of conversation surrounded pre-orientation policies and a lack of support upon arrival.

“No special arrival, no welcome, no sense of belonging or joyful move-in,” international student Rozenn Le Roux ’26 said. “After receiving their keys, [international students] will spend the rest of the week chasing the few people they’re in contact with to figure out how to get into their dorm (because no one tells them they need a code), to then figure out how to get food in the dining hall, or even how to locate where the dining hall. It’s all hassle, struggle, and burden on the shoulders of students who come here with dreams and sparks in their eyes, only to see them extinguished on their first day at Claremont.”

While administrators listened to these concerns, some students were unsatisfied with their response. “I felt like the response was still very performative in that it was an apology again, but no action,” Zhang said. 

Overall, Zhang considers the dinner a “success” but is skeptical of what support for international students will look like moving forward. “I’m just glad to see that they’re putting in a little bit of effort now, but I don’t know how consistent this is going to be,” she said. 

International students are excited about what Kyles will bring to Scripps and have high hopes for what this could mean for Scripps’ support of the international community. “Kyles’ arrival will enable her to better guide future students through the essential stages of arriving in a new country,” Le Roux said.

Through some students’ eyes, Kyles’ positive impacts will depend on how much support the institution provides for the role. “If anything, I think I trust that [Kyles] will do a good job – I don’t think the institution will support her doing a good job,” Zhang said.

Only time will tell what the relationship between these students and the administration will look like. “This event was not only a source of hope for change for international students and their voices but also a possible positive impact on future generations who now have a dedicated advisor,” Le Roux said. “Our minority is important to the school’s reputation abroad but also crucial in maintaining an international presence on campus.”


Image Source: Ellen Hu ’24

Don't Miss