PBA international students recount unique COVID-19 difficulties
COVID-19 has changed our society and complicated a lot of things
that we before took for granted such as traveling and meeting people. International college students now share their own COVID-19 story, as the pandemic has continued to raise concerns about the feasibility of international travel and obtaining a Visa.
Rebecca Keijzerwaard, a Palm Beach Atlantic University student from
The Netherlands, explains that she experienced unforeseen issues with entering the United States in the summer of 2020, as she was preparing to start her senior year.
The U.S. had closed its borders to the Dutch people following the Netherlands’ rise
in COVID-19 cases. Keijzerwaard says that she started to get worried about whether she would be able to come back to school after PBA announced that they were returning to in-person classes. It was only the day before the fall semester began that she learned the borders were reopened for travel.
After quickly booking a plane ticket, she now had to receive a COVID-19 test and
ensure that she could receive her results the same day, forcing her to pay roughly $300 in fees. These small costs are something that international students have been forced to pay more off than usual as an effect of COVID-19.
Once Keijzerwaard arrived in the U.S., she immediately had to be in
quarantine for two weeks no matter what her test results showed. While she had many international friends who decided to stay home or find refuge elsewhere, Keijzerwaard was determined to start her last year of college as soon as possible.
Alisa Koryagina, a PBA junior originally from Russia, says that she expects
COVID-19 to cause challenges in renewing her U.S. Visa.
Koryagina got her U.S. Visa in Singapore. Right now, Singapore does not allow
people to get in due to COVID-19 and Koryagina says that she is afraid that the US Embassy will still be closed when she will need a new one in March 2022. She is not sure if she will have a problem by the time she needs to go to Singapore, but all the wondering for international students has now existed for two years.
What they all say is that they are thankful that they made it to the United States and
have been able to attend PBA despite the additional stresses the COVID-19 has caused.
By Hedda Jarhall