Because countries have closed their borders to international flights, international students at Huntington have had to stay on campus during the COVID-19 era.
By Laura Caicedo, Staff Writer
After spring break, the world was shocked by what the virus had done in China, then in Italy, and subsequently in Spain. Now, in May, the majority of countries around the world have closed their borders to any international flights.
Many students left campus to stay home with their parents as their states demanded people to be indoors, shifting work and school to Zoom meetings and e-learning.
SangJin Woo, a senior psychology major, has had to stay on Miller Hall.
“I do not think my country is in lockdown right now, but I know that I will be quarantined for 2 weeks when I go back,” said Woo, referring to the way South Korea is managing the pandemic. “Definitely, COVID-19 is affecting my life in America because I cannot travel around to see my friends.”
As the student body president, he’s had to become more creative in the ways in he interacts with students. But when it comes to his classes, he thinks that the only setback has been not getting the human interaction his classes provided him.
Keila Funez, nursing student, relates to the same lack of interaction.
As her home country Honduras closes its borders, she’s had to decide where to stay for the rest of the semester — and maybe the summer too.
“Currently, I am staying in Columbus, Ohio, with a friend,” Funez said. “I planned to go to Chicago for Spring Break with some of my international friends, but due to COVID-19, I had to change my plans.”
Ohio was her only choice because she didn’t want to be without her friends, and her parents were worried she was going to be all alone on campus.
Even if Honduras ends its lockdown, Funez is afraid that it will be hard to get out of her country and return to the USA for fall semester.
HU has given students the opportunity to request an “S/U” grading scale for classes, and Funez is very thankful.
“Because of e-learning, I do not think I am doing as well as I do in my classes,” said Funez. “I am the type of student that prefers to be in the class and have interactions with my classmates.”
One student that has been greatly affected is Katherine Sell, a film major from Canada.
“I’ve had to change plans for getting home,” said Sell. “A normal semester, I can drive over the border, but now I have to fly.”
Not only that changed for her, but also her film projects.
“My biggest project of the year was canceled,” Sell said. “This was incredibly disappointing as a lot of work and preparation was put into it.”
Now, she is trying to navigate online classes and being confined in a room by herself, which she says has affected her mental wellbeing and her ability to focus on schoolwork and take care of herself.
Like Woo, Sell will have to quarantine in her room for two weeks when she returns home due to Canada’s protocol.
Luckily, she was able to fly the last week of classes, meaning that she will soon get to be with her family.