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SU international students: travel delays both home and away

The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be an immense hardship for people across the globe experiencing different precautions, events and experiences.

However, the pandemic can prove to be more complicated for Salisbury University study abroad students both inside and outside of the U.S.

Jun Zhang, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies, is an international student studying abroad in the United States who is currently unable to return to China.

Zhang expressed her eagerness to not only pursue graduate school, but to study the English language, something that has become increasingly difficult when in quarantine.

The COVID-19 pandemic is especially hard for students like Zhang, who are away from their families at this time, separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles.

However, Zhang is still able to contact her parents during this unpredictable time, giving her a sense of positivity and support.

“We talked with each other by WeChat every day, and it is good to have their encouragement,” Zhang stated.

Zhang is one of many SU study abroad students who are currently unable to return home to their families.

In addition to students like Zhang who are stranded in the U.S., there are also students that are unable to return to the U.S.

Lisa Abe is a junior who had initially traveled to the U.S. to study mass media communications, spending the majority of her semester in the U.S.

During spring break, Abe returned home to Japan to briefly visit her family, planning to return to the U.S. once break had ended. However, this was not the case.

Travel restrictions have prevented Abe from returning. Thus, Abe must continue the reminder of her spring semester online in Tokyo, Japan.

Abe shared that the unexpected change in plans created various challenges, her greatest challenge being the 13-hour time difference.

While in Japan, Abe is continuing to partake in online learning, leaving her with the difficult task of balancing academic life, home life and sleep between two different time zones.

“Sometimes I need to stay awake for assignments … My lifestyle has changed a lot," Abe said.

Abe must dedicate extra time toward organization and planning her academic studies, being particularly mindful of due dates.

Abe also recognized the need to adjust to the COVID-19 restrictions in Japan, which to some extent differ from the U.S.

Unlike the U.S., Abe recognized that masks have always been a part of cold and flu season in Japan, which isn’t new. However, it’s a precaution that Abe hopes can be considered worldwide.

Abe has also noticed that stores have now sought to control the number of products purchased by their customers, rationing certain items.

“The supermarket is not empty like other countries. Only some of the products are gone — not all of them,” Abe stated.

Another notable difference Abe has experienced is the increased amounts of open businesses, such as restaurants and bars.

“Restaurants and bars are more dangerous because people are much closer there than in other public places,” Abe stated.

Although Abe is missing her fellow students back at Salisbury, she is happy to be with her family during this scary time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be full of unique experiences for SU international students, both in the U.S. and abroad.

However, students like Zhang and Abe have proven that preparation and positivity are vital during this unpredictable pandemic.

So, whether you’re at home or abroad, remember to stay positive, stay prepared and of course, stay safe.



Staff writer

Featured image by Pinterest.

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