From Lydia Ho, senior interdisciplinary studies major:
“APU’s decision to shut-down campus affected the way two of my classes functioned. Those two classes were mostly discussion-based classes, so moving to online classes was definitely interesting. I feel like it is harder to get into the conversation. However, I now know the faces of my classmates because I am seeing their faces instead of the back of their heads.
My other two classes were project-based, so having to keep yourself accountable has been difficult. I think the saddest part of the situation we are all in is that we, the graduating seniors, will not experience a lot of events that graduating seniors usually take part in.
It all happened so fast that I didn’t even realize a lot of my ‘lasts’ already happened.
I thank God that I am living off-campus this year. It is probably one of the saving graces of this season. I also live with seven other girls, so I am never bored. We are able to talk about the situation as well, which helps me to process. Obviously we aren’t going out, we are all staying in, but our house has enough space so we don’t step on each other’s toes. Also, my parents are calling me basically every day, so that’s fun too.
The biggest hardship I am still tackling is my visa situation. I am graduating this semester and I am an international student which means I will not have a visa when school ends. I am planning on applying for an OPT but I need to find a job. The biggest worry I have is the state of the job market. It was hard enough without the situation we are in, but with the economy down, I am not sure if I would be able to find a job. If I don’t, I will have to leave the country and flying back to my home country could be quite hard in the coming months.”
Editor’s note: International students who have completed their degrees have a one-year window to work in the U.S. on a student visa before they must return to the country they are resident in. This may be especially difficult for those students whose student visa expires shortly after their graduation date, leaving them in a precarious situation where they often have no choice but to go home. International students who go back home post-graduation often find it difficult to return to the U.S. in the future.*
“I am still living near APU. I chose to stay because if I fly back to Singapore, I would not be able to come back and work. I am planning on waiting it out and praying I get a job.
As an international student, I have been in contact with the International Center; however, they must be super busy this season. I am still planning on applying for an OPT, but they have not been super responsive because there are probably bigger issues they have to deal with. The visa process does take a while, and I am feeling nervous about my future status.
I think that the university and student communication has been effective. I totally understand most of their decisions because I had friends and family in many countries that COVID-19 affected long before it came to the U.S. I saw the effects of it in those countries and I felt like I had a better understanding of what is going to happen when it came to the US. There is always room for improvement but I believe everyone is doing the best that they can. No one can be 100 percent prepared for this situation.
I am able to spend my time wisely in learning new skills, connecting with my housemates and friends via the internet, and spending more time with the Lord. I am just praying that society will work together and radical joy and kindness will spread all through the world.”