For a few weeks now, we have been living a new situation for all of us. A new virus has taken over each of us and our families creating fear and uncertainty. The news changes at all times, which has produced great anxiety among families who have their children studying abroad.
With the appearance of the coronavirus, american universities began to move face-to-face classes to online classes. In many of them, they announced this change until March 30. When the virus started to grow, they sent a statement: classes would remain online until the end of the semester. In addition, many universities have closed their campus and recommended their students to go home.
As for sporting events, the conferences announced the immediate cancellation of all matches as well as practices. All this situation has created a general resignation among the students, especially those student-athletes who train very hard every day to compete and fight for the desired and special conference title. Resignation and sadness are what each of them feel. From the freshman for not being able to compete in their first season to the seniors because they are not going to be able to play their last season, either are they going to have their well-deserved senior day and graduation.
Despite the fast cancellation of the various activities carried out by universities and conferences, there is a great lack of information and ignorance of this dangerous virus. In the United States, people keep going with their lives naturally and how they were doing it before, so that the students are not really aware of everything that is happening or the severity of the current crisis.
Families are living these moments with much anguish and uncertainty. The fact that the virus spread earlier in Spain than in the United States, makes families want their children to return as soon as possible. The measures that are being carried out in Spain and the tough news make Spanish families aware of the crisis. Families feel the need as well as the importance of their children coming back home.
Families feel that their children have a lack of protection when they are far away from home. They are afraid of not knowing what can happen the next day. In addition, there is a feeling of helplessness due to the inability to help their children being so far away. However, families are also aware of the risks that returning to Spain in these difficult times can entail. Given that situation, they wonder what is the right thing to do, stay in the United States or return home.
One of the main reasons why students return home is their own safety and health. In the United States, there is no public or universal healthcare. Although some scholarship students have part of their medical coverage, it is a risk not to be covered 100%. Another reason is the peace of mind of families having their child at home during this global catastrophe. Finally, it is safer and more pleasant to spend the quarantine at home with your family and in your country where you will be more protected.
In the case that the student and the family consider it appropriate to return to Spain, here are some steps that should be followed:
The first thing to do is go talk to the teachers to make sure that all classes are online until the end of the semester and let them know that you are considering the possibility of returnig to your home country. Once you have received confirmation from the teachers, you should go to the international office. There they will inform you about the papers you must have in order to re-enter the country. They will give you a paper on the COVID19 where they will ask you for your information and you must get a sign in your I20 if necessary.
Once you have made sure of the classes, you have all the papers in order and you have made the decision to return to Spain you must inform yourself about the flights. The restriction and cancellation of flights has grown considerably due to the air closure. There is only a few US airports that are still open and allow the return to Spain. Once the flight is booked, there is a possibility of cancellation and/or changes on your flights.
During the return trip, you must be aware of the risk of getting infected. That is why it is very important to carry out the main precautionary measures:
Once you have arrived home with your family, it is highly recommended to take certain precautions. During the trip you have been in a risk zone and there is a possibility of infection. The first thing to keep in mind is the distance from the family. Clothes and suitcases should also be disinfected with bleach. The student must use a bathroom for himself as well as separate his own plate, glass and cutlery. The sheets must be changed every one or two days and do separate washing machines. These strict measures should be carried out for about 8-10 days. If in that time no symptoms have appeared, it is likely that there has been no contagion and therefore it is not necessary to carry out all these precautions so rigorously anymore. Still, it is important to confine yourself and not leave home without good cause.
Many students have decided to return home, but there are also many others who have decided or have had no choice but to stay in the United States. Some universities claim the complication that can exist among foreign students when they re-enter United States after leaving the country. Also, many students are afraid of losing their degree and/or sports scholarship and decide to stay to avoid it. On the other hand, those families that have a member considered as a person at risk from the coronavirus, may consider the option of not returning to Spain since there is the possibility of infection during the trip.
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