On March 26, an email from the district informed students that classes for the remainder of the spring semester were transitioned to online in light of the current pandemic. Following the email, students from all three colleges: Skyline, Canada and San Mateo decided to head back to their homes in different countries across the globe as soon as possible.
Life for an international student in the time of corona is hard. Mihyang Hyun, a Skyline College student, was all alone thousands of kilometers away from her family during a global health crisis.
“Since College transitioned to online classes, it’s been a really hard time for me.” said Hyun. “Every day I just had a choice to stay at my house by myself and do nothing except doing my assignments. I wanted to go back to Japan because I felt lonely and depressed; despite that, I could not decide to buy a ticket because the school had not yet decided whether to switch to online classes for the whole semester or not. However, after school emailed us that they will close the campus, I bought a ticket and finally could come back to my country.”
She was relieved after she finally landed in Tokyo, Japan. “Quarantine life in Japan is different from quarantine life in America. There are a lot of people who care for me and bring food for me every day. I do not feel lonely because of them. Honestly, I do not do anything special. My study and work are going well, and I don’t have any concerns about my classes either.” said Hyun.
Whereas students were relieved to head back home, they also were concerned. Skyline College student Yunri Bao, who landed in Guangzhou, China a few days ago said “I feel great to be back home. My quarantine life is amazing because I can do anything I want except going outside. After the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more vigilant about wearing masks when they go out and they care about personal hygiene more than before. Even though I am concerned about my studies back in America because my time zone has changed and now it’s easier to miss deadlines. That’s why I have a special planner to remind me what I should do every day and check my email more frequently.”
When we asked Bao about her health, she said: “Doctors come every day to check my temperature and I’m provided with not one but four meals every day in this quarantine center by the government, I’m good.”
Sooner or later many countries decided to have a partial or complete lockdown in their countries. Sara Tagram, who is right now in Shizouka, Japan said “Tokyo is the most famous city in Japan. Now that, Tokyo is on lockdown and businesses are heavily impacted people are really worried about that.” She further added, “When I landed in Japan, I was kind of scared because there had been dozens of people infected in just a day and the situation here is getting very dangerous. The thought of becoming infected by the novel Coronavirus kept bothering me. A few days later I did get used to this feeling I felt.”
With the school year still going on, Tagram said, “I’m planning to study online and online is better than in-class because it is easier to submit assignments and we have more time to rest.”
While Mihyang witnessed similarities on how America reacted to the novel coronavirus, she seemed to be concerned about Japan because of that. “The teenagers here do not care about the virus either and go outside as usual. They know that it will affect them or family, yet they do not take the virus as a serious problem.” said Mihyang.
Life in Japan is still better than the life I spent in America; however, the situation is the same. I see similarities in the situation of Japan and America on how they reacted to the novel coronavirus, sadly.”