USD is home to many international students. But with the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, all means of international travel have been impacted.
For some international students, this situation presents challenges with living on-campus, returning to their home countries or continuing their education at USD.
Patrick Morrison, associate director of the USD International Office, said all international students are being advised over the phone and Zoom.
International students, Morrison said, have different circumstances than other students.
“In addition to typical questions, we are able to help students think through the pros and cons of staying here or returning to their home country,” Morrison said in an email interview with The Volante. “No one at USD or in the federal government has required degree-seeking students on study visas to return home.”
For students living on campus, Morrison said they had the opportunity to contact University Housing if they didn’t have an alternative place to live. If students live off-campus, their situation remains the same.
Yuzina Subedi, sophomore economics major, is originally from Nepal. Since Subedi lives off-campus, she said she didn’t have to find an alternative place to live, but still has been impacted by the coronavirus situation.
“I have stocked up on some non-perishable food items and hopefully it’ll be enough to last me for some time,” Subedi said. “I feel like since South Dakota is a small state and we’ve been taking precautions, it’s safe and hopefully it will continue to be.”
Subedi hopes all international students who have nowhere to go find a place to stay for the time being, she said.
Because of the fast-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morrison said it’s difficult to predict how this will impact the future of international students and all students at USD.
“I think it is less an issue for international students than an issue for all students and the campus at large,” Morrisons said. “For international students specifically, there will likely be challenges regarding international travel even after some other things settle, but the majority of our current students usually remain in South Dakota over summer as it stands.”
Although Morrison said he and many others don’t know exactly what will happen in the coming months, they hope the situation improves by the next semester.
“We are still processing applications and working towards international student orientation in August, where we hope to welcome a new group of International ‘Yotes to campus,” Morrison said.
Morrison also said the International Office is available to any students in need of guidance as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact USD.
Along with the International Office, Subedi said she has had the support of her friends and family and recommends that students stay safe and alert.
“Be nice and kind to each other and be ready to help out during this time of crisis in any way possible,” Subedi said. “Do what makes you happy, even it’s sleeping all day and continue spreading joy virtually.”