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University of Iceland at turning point

Foreign-born students could get a seat in the Student Council of the University of Iceland for the first time in the elections on February 7 and 8, which could prove a turning point in the political history of the university.

Christian Rauber Rebhan from Germany holds the first seat of the candidate list Háskólalistinn and has a very strong possibility of being elected its representative in the council. He has lived in Iceland for a year and a half and studies international relations at the postgraduate level.

“I want to improve the university. Foreign students observe it from the outside with the eyes of a visitor and can spot things local students wouldn’t notice. Therefore it is important that our voices are heard,” Rebhan told Fréttabladid.

Elham Sadegh Tehrani from Iran is the seventh candidate running for a seat in the council for the candidate list Vaka. “This is a remarkable year for foreign students because we have never taken so much part in student politics before,” she said.

“Foreign students at the University of Iceland are steadily increasing. […] Currently there are 900 foreign students at the university, […] which means that one out of every ten students is foreign born,” Tehrani explained.

“If the president wants the University of Iceland to be one of the best in the world […] the situation of foreign students needs to be improved. We should, for example, have the right to take exams in English,” Tehrani added.

Tehrani is currently the head of the Association of Foreign Students of the University of Iceland and is also hoping to become the leader of the International Committee of the Student Council. She has lived in Iceland for six years and is studying food science.

Fabrizio Frascaroli from Italy is the fifth candidate on the candidate list of Röskva. “I have been at the university for a long time so I know the community pretty well,” he said. Frascaroli has lived in Iceland for six years and is studying for a master’s degree in anthropology.

He used to run the student café Stúdentakjallarinn. “By working there I got a good insight into the university life, which is an experience that will come in handy [if elected for the council],” Frascaroli said.

Frascaoli has always been interested in politics and is hoping to get a chance to put his ideas into action. “I feel the Student Council has stagnated […] and that people need to change the way they see it, both within the council and among other students. They need to show this institution more respect.”

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