COVID Special Issue

9,300 Miles and 14 Hours Away, International Students Struggle With Attending UChicago Virtually

The Life of the Mind has gone global in the last three decades, with international student presence doubling over thirty years to encompass one-fifth of the University’s overall student population. Between constantly shifting visa requirements, and family members half a world or more away, the pandemic has been uniquely hard on this segment of the University. The Dealer spoke to a few international students via email (as they could only offer to talk after 1 a.m CST) to get their perspectives on how the pandemic has impacted their student experiences.

“It’s actually been really nice,” said third-year Fig Newton, currently located in Singapore. “Because all of my classes are from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. my time, I barely see my family. I’ve also been able to befriend a bunch of bats who live in the tree outside my house. They’re super cool — we’re going to practice sleeping upside down tomorrow.”

Fourth-year Gold Fish, currently at home with her family in Australia, echoed a similar sentiment. “These deer are some of the best friends I’ve ever had. We’re all vegetarian, which is great, and honestly, they’re more helpful with my econ psets than half the people I knew at UChicago.”

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, has become fully adopted by a pack of racoons. “Sharing the same schedule is a great bonding factor,” they said. “The bond just kind of grew from there — they really appreciate that I have opposable thumbs and I really appreciate their sense of scavenging. I barely miss my human family and friends at all.”

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