Jena S. Alam
Imagine investing a substantial portion of your student life to get acceptance from a reputed foreign institution. While having the equal amount of potential as the students of the foreign land, you are still asked to pay comparatively a lot more than native students. Now that you have nothing else to do but accept the unjust treatment you receive due to your birthplace, for the sake of better education, you still decide to go. Months of paper arrangements, and you finally make it.
But our story doesn’t end here. You go to a foreign land all alone. Then you slowly grasp and acclimatise yourself to the new culture, make new friends, realise that your new life isn’t that bad, and finally start enjoying it, and then a pandemic hits the world. Due to this pandemic, you are forced to be quarantined. Concerned for everyone’s health, institutions all over the world start taking online classes, travel bans are enforced, and you are strictly asked to maintain health precautions. To add to this crisis, the government of the foreign land decides to impose a new law.
The law states: Any international student who will have their classes completely online for the fall will be deported or forced to leave the foreign land.
This law being passed amidst a pandemic is creating a dilemma for both students and institutions. The law also includes that international students will have to have in-person classes, or transfer to other institutions to avoid being sent back to their own countries.
Suppose you are an international student, and you start to panic about the new law. This policy pressurises you and you are confused about your next step. Similarly, your institution is worried about what to do next. This is exactly what is happening to thousands of students in the USA.
The Trump administration is not only forcing international students to attend classes risking their lives, but is also giving them an inequitable treatment. This law is unjustifiable and unfair to the students. It also fails to explicitly state what happens to the students when they are deported and receive travel bans from their own countries. This is an extreme situation for both the institutions and the students. It would be wise if international students got equal opportunities to stay at home in order to stay safe from Covid-19.
The government will not extend any visa for international students attending online-only classes. This is not only saddening, but also frustrating for the students. In a situation like Covid-19, it is petrifying for students to attend in-person classes.
This has an enormous effect on the students’ education, considering the student has to leave the country with uncertainty surrounding whether they will be coming back. While the government of US forces institutions to reopen, this is a massive political issue. International students provide more than 30 billion dollars to the US economy every year. This policy can hamper the economy and can be a huge loss for institutions.
A lot of these institutions have more international students than locals. Some institutions claim to have only international students for their PHD programmes. Many institutions are allowing international students to have a minimum amount of in-person classes, while some institutions, like Harvard, have declared to continue online-only classes. Some institutions are still planning on a safe way to have in-person classes for their students.
For now, international students are frustrated and confused. They are hoping to find a solution to this issue quickly, because some of these students have invested all their financial capabilities to attend these institutions, and others have invested massive amounts of hard work to be able to gain an education from these institutions. If this law persists, it will be responsible for shattering many dreams.
Jena loves getting messy with her paint when it comes to leisure time.