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International students uncertain about what lies ahead

By Edna Caroline Byenkya  [1] 

BELLEVILLE – The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a high level of uncertainty for many international students at Loyalist College [2] while they await details about the next school year

As far as returning to school in the fall is concerned, I am skeptical,” said Afzun Saiyed, a second-year project management student.

“I know that remote learning is the only way to go right now, but I still feel like it doesn’t provide enough for you to learn and understand,” she said .

“I am scared that nothing will go back to normal. I feel like I am losing out on an entire college experience. This year was going to be all about networking with people and making connections for me. I know that the courses and the studies will keep going on without any issues through alternative and remote methods, but I will definitely miss the connect and experience.” Saiyed said. 

Other international students expressed different concerns.

“Public transport is already a nightmare right now because of this pandemic,” said Simarpreet Kaur, a first-year project management student.

“The Belleville transport service moved to an app that we must order for bus rides from, but they never come on time. If school resumes in the fall, I worry about making it from my lectures to my job in time for my shift,” she said. 

“My biggest concern right now is finding work as an international student” said Dhaval Patel, a student in electrical engineering.

“I was working at a restaurant in the area, but it was closed because of Covid-19. I am struggling to make ends meet as far as expenses are concerned and it worries me because I don’t know if my situation will be better by the time school starts again in September.” 

The federal government has made temporary provisions for foreign students which includes: exempting those previously approved for a study permit from travel restrictions into Canada, loosening some eligibility restrictions for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program [3] and allowing them to work more than 20 hours a week if providing essential services during the pandemic. But for some international students these exemptions might just not be enough. 

Afzun Saiyed is worried about money too.

“For international students, summertime is the only time we are allowed to work full time, but because of Covid-19, there are very limited opportunities to work. This means there is no money coming in and it has led to an extra financial burden to make up my tuition fees by the deadlines.