“I'm just torn apart between two countries now” says international student caught in global coronavirus crisis

By Beatriz Abreu Ferreira

International students at De Montfort University are trying to fly home to be with their families during the global coronavirus pandemic but are having to battle with a string of travel restrictions.

The quick spread of the coronavirus and preventative measures taken by many countries are stopping many of them from returning home, leaving them stranded and alone during the pandemic.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Zuzanna Románska, a third year journalism student from Poland, said: “I want to see my family more than anything but then if I would go back, I would have to go into two weeks’ quarantine, alone in some rented flat… and if the situation gets worse in UK, I wouldn’t know how to come back.

“It’s also easier to manage my studies from here, and I have my boyfriend here as well. If I left the country I would have to leave him for who knows how long. 

“I’m just torn apart between two countries now,” she added.

Alberte Gómez, an architecture student from Spain, was advised to remain in Leicester. 

“I was told by a relative who works in a hospital not to go there as the situation is not good and the risk of spreading was very high,” he said.

“However, I don’t feel any safer in the UK. I think here is going to be chaos as well. The problem is going to be the NHS which probably will collapse.

“If I could, I go back to Spain. And when the situation improves I will go back at one point.

“But I am a bit scared that we are not allowed to leave later on. But when the president of Spain announced the lockdown he said the Spanish citizens living abroad are legally allowed to fly back to their home country, so I’m hopping that will help in a worst case scenario,” he added.

Sara Pereira, a Portuguese student studying a Master’s in Investigatve Journalism, is already back home. 

“I decided to fly back home as soon as I got a chance. I didn’t wanted to be away from my family at this difficult time or be forced to stay in the UK because the countries decide to close the borders,” she explained.

“It’s harder to do all my assignments from home but it would be even harder to be far away from home during this crisis. 

“I have no idea when this will pass or when I will be allowed to travel back. My graduation was already postponed. It has been really stressful,” she added.

Enio Hallualli, a computing student from Italy, is too scared to fly back.

“It’s mostly fear that keeps me in the UK. I wanted to go back to stay with my family but I’m too scared that I could infect my grandmother,” he said.

“The flight to go back is too expensive. 

“And there are only flights to Rome and I’m from Venice so I would need to take at least two different flights. My parents want me to go but if I’m traveling for 48 hours there is a good chance that I get the virus and then I could pass it on to my relatives. I won’t risk it,” he added. 

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