International Human of Mizzou Vol. 3: International students share their experiences during COVID-19 pandemic

The past month has been challenging for everyone, both mentally and physically. Two international students discussed how the pandemic has impacted their lives and how they cope with it.

Ziwei “Vivian” Zhang

Vivian is a senior studying strategic communication at MU. She came to MU in 2018 through a conjunct program between The Communication University of China and the MU School of Journalism. Ziwei is the only student who stayed in McDavid Hall after COVID-19 broke out.

“The dorm life [during this time] is not too bad. I am a type of person who knows how to enjoy myself. My hobby is watching TV shows. I think it’s important to find ways to relax ourselves and cope with the situation. For me, I like doing some exercises and watching TV shows. I think overall, Res Life did a good job with weekly updates, regular cleaning and personal check-ins. But I was a little bit skeptical when I was told to move out of my current dorm and move into a new dorm recently. Moving is an exhausting process and though I understand putting all students in the same dorm will reduce the cost and workload, it also increases the chance of us students getting affected. The pandemic definitely impacted my post-graduation plan because I am going to King’s College London for graduate school. However, the pandemic is happening in the U.K too so I don’t know when the fall semester will start exactly. One thing I really miss is hanging out with friends. Since I am leaving at the end of the month, I really want to treasure the time with friends, because we might not be able to see each other in years. But sometimes life takes you in unexpected paths and you need to cope with it. I will definitely miss Columbia and all the beautiful memories I made here in the past two years.”

Min Su Park

Minsu Park is a senior studying strategic communication and statistics at MU. Minsu decided to go back to his hometown in Korea after COVID-19 broke out and finished his 14 days of self-quarantine recently.

“First I was really confused about whether I should stay in the United States or go back to Korea. Ultimately, my parents who cared more about my well-being than my health, made the decision that I should come back to Korea. I actually caught a cold right before I flew back to Korea. It wasn’t bad but I had a runny nose, which is one of the symptoms for COVID-19. The Korean health professionals thought I was one of the potential virus carriers so they pulled me out and tested me at the airport. They told me the result will take about ten hours so they provided me with the hotel and meals for me to stay until the result came up. And I got tested negative luckily, and I went back home. The whole journey was crazy. First I was worried that I might have the virus, and I also had the test the day I landed in Korea, so I had to figure all of that out [while staying in the hotel]. I stayed at home for two weeks for the self-quarantine. [The Korean] government made me download an application on my phone which has a GPS system that will track me down if I carry [my] phone outside. They will also have random checks. They will call me in the middle of the day and tell me to wave my hands or something and they might just be outside of my front door. My self-quarantine ended two days ago after I took another test and was tested negative. I went out [for the first time in two weeks] yesterday to vote since it was election day for Congress in Korea so I went outside to vote. There were still a lot of people on the streets, but it’s really hard to see someone without a mask. I am not sure how well social distancing is working in South Korea. I think it’s important for us to take the pandemic seriously and follow all the given guidance so that we can flat the curve. And I certainly hope everything goes back to normal soon and I can return to campus in fall.”

Edited by Alex Fulton | afulton@themaneater.com

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