“Do you see how many racist attacks have happened? People are being stabbed just because they were Chinese. If this could happen in some places, it could also happen here, and I am Chinese,” she said.According to Dr. Kim, UCLA’s counseling services are working hard to make sure that emotional and psychological support is available to international students who remain in the US. The university has also continued to make campus health services and counseling accessible through telehealth for all of its students, including international students. However, the same students struggling to adapt to online classes may also find telehealth counseling sessions inadequate. Meanwhile, Samantha Chong, a Chinese-Malaysian student studying at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, told WhoWhatWhy that she has been “anxious and nervous” since the pandemic began. “Do you see how many racist attacks have happened? People are being stabbed, just because they were Chinese. If this could happen in some places, it could also happen here, and I am Chinese,” she said.In February, a 16-year-old Asian American boy in San Fernando Valley, CA, was physically attacked and accused by his schoolmates of having the coronavirus. As coronavirus cases continue to rise, racism toward Asians and Asian Americans has become more prevalent. Chong lives in a predominantly white neighborhood and expressed her fears of being targeted racially since she is Chinese. She said she has also received dirty looks while in the grocery store. “Everyone would literally look at me and step away,” she added. “I was too afraid to even touch anything. I would just grab [the products] and then leave. I really just want to get out of the grocery store.” Dr. Kim explained that racial discrimination causes anxiety for international students, especially East Asians. “You’re already worried about going outside because you might contract this virus. On top of that, you also have to also worry about being judged or singled out in any way, or sometimes, even harassed,” Dr. Kim said. “That increases the sense of the lack of safety to be able to just go outside for the essentials that you need.”While stranded in the US, missing their families and struggling to complete their online classes, many students also worry about visa renewal restrictions and deadlines. Lois Kaye Go, a student at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, is supposed to graduate next year, but her visa expired this month. After the shift to remote learning, Go decided, like Luis Castro, to remain in the US since she thought it was safer to stay put than to travel. Go plans to return home and renew her visa — a process which must be completed at the US embassy in the Philippines — once the lockdown has been lifted. However, she worries that the embassy may not reopen soon enough for her to complete her application and return for classes when the fall semester begins. “At this point, I really do want to go home. Hopefully, the lockdown will be lifted before school starts,” Go said. “There is just a lot of uncertainty. We never know which situation is actually going to pan out. I’m trying to email [International Student Services] to see if there are any other avenues I can do, given that everything is closed.”Unfortunately, according to immigration lawyer Karlo Ponferrada, Esq., the process of extending or renewing one’s student visa has become difficult during this pandemic, as US embassies all over the world remain closed.“There are no other alternatives,” said Ponferrada, who runs a private practice in Menifee, CA. He explained that F-1 student visa holders can only renew or extend their visas at a US embassy.Universities say they have stepped in to help international students when possible. Some schools, for example, have opened up a limited number of dorms to provide housing for international students. Go, the Filipino student from the University of South Carolina, said she is grateful for all the aid she has received from her university. “[Our school] provided us with food every day, so we didn’t even have to go out to eat,” Go said. “Since I have nowhere else to go in the United States, the school provided us with housing, which was very, very helpful.”Even though the school semester has ended, Go was allowed to stay on campus over the summer. Tickets to her hometown of Cebu, Philippines, are limited. Despite the university’s help with her housing situation for the summer, Go said she misses her family back in the Philippines and that she would really like to see them during this difficult time.“I think the only thing I’m sad about is that I can’t go home,” she told WhoWhatWhy. “Now, it’s like I don’t know where to go.” Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Simon Jowett / Flickr (CC0 1.0) The post Pandemic Leaves International Students Stranded appeared first on WhoWhatWhy.
When US universities shut down in the middle of the semester due to the coronavirus pandemic, school officials asked students to vacate their dorms immediately. Many students scrambled to pack their belongings and head home to complete their semester online." data-share-imageurl="" style="position:fixed;top:0px;right:0px;">