Thousands of international students study at WVU every year, but COVID-19 has left many unable to return to campus and unsure of their future plans.
Vanessa Silva, a senior political science student from Venezuela, decided to attend classes remotely from her home country this semester.
One of the reasons Silva made this decision was because she was unable to work on-campus.
“International students are only allowed to work on-campus, therefore, I have not had income since May,” Silva said.
Silva said that a normal day is not something students get often this semester, as professors change meeting times, discouraging routines and assigning more work.
Silva said in Venezuela, COVID-19 only worsened a country torn by dictatorship and poverty.
“Due to extreme poverty, most individuals have thrown together masks from old clothes, or use bandanas, as they can’t even afford masks, much less treatment,” Silva said.
Silva, who has experienced the pandemic first-hand in her home country, worked in the summer as she prepared for the LSAT. Her goal is to attend law school following graduation, but online classes have been her main focus this semester.
“I have had an online class every semester of college, and they used to be my favorite classes, but be careful what you wish for,” Silva said.
Silva said her courses are overloaded with work, and professors seem to ignore how online classes can cause students to become disorganized.
“I consider myself to be extremely organized, but I cannot seem to be able to stay on top of my tasks this year,” Silva said.
This semester, Silva’s choice to stay home in Venezuela was one that really affected her experience.
“I am extremely saddened by the fact that my last semester has been spent at home, missing out on football games and even a party,” Silva said.
Although saddened, Silva couldn’t deny the positives of staying home.
“I cannot complain about all the sleep I’ve been getting, and the fact that I don’t have to be put together for class,” Silva said.
Amina Boukhris, a sophomore biology student from Italy, said the COVID-19 regulations are much different here than her home country.
“It was way more strict there than here definitely,” Boukhris said. “If you were caught outside, even with a mask on, and you had no reason to be outside, you were going to get a fine.”
Without a license or social security number in the U.S., Boukhris has struggled with many different things this semester.
“This semester I haven’t been able to work, or get a license on my own,” Boukhris said.“That was a huge challenge for just minimal things just like groceries.”
With these new circumstances and unknowns, Boukhris has thought about her college future and what will happen next.
She said although she originally considered staying in the U.S. for graduate school, she is now unsure.
“I’m definitely planning on finishing my undergraduate here, but I don’t know about my graduate,” Boukhris said. “I was convinced before, but I’m not sure now.”
Boukhris also questions the college’s response to COVID-19 in Morgantown.
“I like how it was handled, but on the other side, I feel like the University is really not doing enough,” Boukhris said.
Although her opinions have changed on campus life, being on campus is something Bourkhris still enjoys.
“Being here and having a bunch of people your age, you can hang out and do all of the things we used to do. I liked it because I felt like I had more of a support here,” Boukhris said.