Last week, the White House announced that U.S. borders would open to fully vaccinated foreign travelers after nearly two years of limited travel, which was enforced in early January of 2020.
The international students could not be more pleased to hear that the borders are finally opening up again.
“I was more than excited when I found out they would be opening because it means my family can now come to see me play basketball, and I can go home without worrying about any complications getting back into the U.S.,” said Post Graduate Erin Maguire ‘22.
Since most countries require proof of a negative COVID test, this fear of ‘complications’ is due to the 2-week quarantine required by most countries and record of a negative COVID test when coming and going from outside the U.S.
Erin wasn’t the only student excited to hear the borders being opened. Senior student-athlete Andrew Lancaster ‘22 from Scotland gave his reaction to the borders being opened and seeing his family more frequently.
“In a regular academic year, I would see my family at every break, which was one week or longer, and they would fly out with me at the start of the year to settle in. Due to covid restrictions, they could not fly out to see me at all, and when I would return, a 2-week quarantine awaited me. This put a stop to most plans and resulted in me only seeing my parents one time from August 2020 – June 2021.”
COVID regulations and not seeing their families or friends back home have caused a lot of stress, frustration, and anxiety for international students.
“Not being able to see my family for practically the whole year was very aggravating for me,” said Stephen Feng ‘23 when asked about his experience at school last year.
Administrators also had something to say about the borders being opened in early November. Associate Director of Admissions, Mr. Garrison was almost as excited as the international students were about opening borders. “The borders opening up gives Hun an opportunity to have more international students moving forward. Current and future international students being able to see their families will be a big step forward from last year.”
After a challenging 2020-2021 school year, students have overcome adversity and reconnected as a community. Although COVID is still a part of daily life on campus, the students can find comfort knowing that they can return to the place they call home.