International students struggle to continue studies outside of the U.S.

photo credit to Xiaocheng Zhu, junior in advertising

Under the pressure of ongoing spread of the Coronavirus and the proclamation that suspends VISA approval, foreign students started to pack their luggage and went back home, flight by flight. They were seeking a safer environment and reunions with their families, even with unknow of what would happen for the future entry back to the U.S.

What Trump believes could be true that international students have no reason to stay in the U.S. when all their classes are online. It seems ideal for international students to stay at their home countries while enjoying the same-quality classes, but the important factor is same-quality classes.

“sometimes, I am even unable to open the courses web page,” said Yihan Jiang, senior in Statistics. Here are the steps that every Chinese student needs to follow when they are about to take classes. First, they wake up around midnight when it is daytime in the campus. Second, they connect to the VPN which is a virtual private network provided by the school that can bypass the ban of Google. Third, they finally can study as they normal would.

According to Jiang, the VPN connection is very unstable and slow during rush hours, and that leads to unable to connect with the school. The page will remain loading as the picture shows above. Students are dropping classes simply because they cannot wake up at midnight if the zoom attendance is required.

The U of I already made changes and continues to change to fulfill international students’ need. “we recognize that there are significant travel restrictions and visa processing delays due to the COVID-19 situation, and we understand that it may be difficult for you to study in-person on our campus in the fall,” says on the ZJU-UIUC website.

ZJU-UIUC is one of the foreign campuses associated with UIUC, and it provides the same curriculum in the Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. Freshmen Chinese students can directly take classes in the ZJU-UIUC campus, in the daytime. “I think it is a great way to continue studying while staying with my family, they provide all services I need,” said Zhou Fang, freshmen in Math, “and I can go out without masks.”

Still, it is unrealistic for all international students enrolling in the local campuses associated with the U of I, because the change was so sudden.