QU International Students face challenges returning this fall

People at the airport following Covid-19 protocols.

By Michele Barletta

On July 6, 2020 the Trump administration introduced a ruling which meant all international students in the USA, who’s universities were operating online for the fall 2020 semester, would have to leave the country, or transfer to another university operating in person in order to stay in the country. It was made clear that failure to abide by this would result in deportation and future implications on the student’s visa. This also meant that any students that were not in the USA at the time, would not be allowed to return into the country for the fall semester.

Craig Chisholm is an international student at QU from Chester, England and says that when he first heard about the ruling he was in disbelief.

“I understand that leaders are doing what they need to do to stop the spread of the virus, but this is our degrees, our futures can’t just be put on hold,” Chisholm said.

Just eight days later, after facing eight federal law suits from hundreds of universities across the country, with Harvard and MIT taking the lead, the Trump administration rescinded the ruling.

“I was extremely relieved when the rule was changed,” Chisholm said. “Petitions went viral all over social media so it was nice to see people who aren’t international students helping us out.”

The travel ban implemented by the USA on the UK was lifted just two weeks prior to Chisholm’s departing flight back to the USA and so he was able to return to campus for the fall semester.

Other students however, have not been as lucky. Sebastian Gomez and Felipe Teles Santana have not been able to return to the USA from their home countries of Peru and Brazil.

The Peruvian borders are currently closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic which means that Gomez was unable to return to QU for the fall semester.

“Our president has said that the borders will open in December, I hope that is true so I can be there next semester,” Gomez said.

Gomez is a member of the QU men’s tennis team and says that not being able to return to QU has had quite the impact on his progression in the game.

“I’m still practicing but not as much as I used to because of the regulations that we have to follow here,” Gomez said.

Santana is still in his home country of Brazil and could not come back for this fall semester as there is a Presidential Proclamation which has suspended travel into the USA for anyone coming from Brazil, excluding US citizens and Green Card holders.

“I was hopeful right up until the last minute that I’d be able to come back, but unfortunately the situation never changed,” Santana said.

QU has taken measures to make sure that these students can still progress in their courses so that their graduation is not delayed.

“I am doing my classes online, it is not the situation that I wanted obviously, but at least I am not missing a semester,” Santana said.

Both Gomez and Santana are missing being on campus and say that it’s strange to be at home while everyone else is lucky enough to continue going to class this semester .

“It’s a different feeling having online lessons and not being able to be with my classmates and teammates,” Gomez said. “I miss the atmosphere on campus.”

Santana and Gomez are hopeful that they will be able to return to campus in the spring semester and return to a degree of normality along with the rest of the students at QU.

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