By Priscillia Mugwa, Veronica Secchi, Jessie Abarques, Daniela Torres, Sarah Perez

 Students are beginning to feel the impact of COVID-19 and the major transitions it has brought to their college education, but for international students, the choices they have faced have not been easy. 

College of the Canyons 205 international  students are facing the choice of going back home to be near their families and risking the opportunity to continue their education internationally here in America.

 “Because of the pandemic 30% of the foreign students requested to go back to their home country and 70% are stuck here,” Adam Wending, Secretary for COC’s International Student Program, said.

The choice to go back to their country and move out of their host families home seemed  easy for some and complicated for others.

An empty terminal as a result of COVID-19

“Because I heard a few cases were found in the closest hospital to my home in Santa Clarita, I’m back in Japan,” COC international student Nobu Hiko said. “I made this decision for my health.” He left on March 21, 2020 after the “Safer at Home” order was put into place. 

For those students who haven’t returned home, they now face the challenge of living without their family during this difficult time.

“I miss my parents so much, but we talk almost every day on the phone and as long as they are doing fine, it’s fine by me,”Lara Ambusa, an exchange student from Belgium, said. Before the spread of the virus, Ambusa’s mother traveled outside of Belgium and was unable to return.  Ambusa stayed in the US despite the situation, seeing no need to try to go back to Belgium without her mother. 

Belgium exchange student Lara Ambusa

Despite the thousands of miles between her and her family, she continues to find the bright side of her situation. “I had 6 hours straight of biology this semester and online makes it just better and easier,” Ambusa said. “Also I have more time to manage all my homework and have 9 to 10 hours of sleep which I didn’t have for a long time.”

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