International and their struggle to get back to UU

For some UU international students, the Corona pandemic has fatally compromised their university experience. First of all, they were put in the position to make a choice at the beginning of the crisis, at a point in time in which travelling was not recommended but also physical contact with others had to be limited: to go home or to stay in the Netherlands.

Among the people that went home, some are still paying the full rent of their room and the full tuition fee. With the most important unanswered question in mind “will university open again?”, it is difficult for them to decide what to do. They are left with no clue of what their student future will be like, with no certainty about September. Therefore, for some, paying the rent and the tuition fee is like losing money for something that is distant and not present in their lives anymore. At the same time, giving up on their education would mean to lose a life-changing chance.

At this point it seems logical to ask ourselves why if many people are in the same situation nothing has been done to connect them and try to solve the problem. Even in GSS, a course in which social action is aimed at, nobody gathered together for a petition, writing a letter or share their concerns. Why? Do we think our voice will be unheard? Or do we think that in a situation like this the priorities should be others, for example being healthy.

It is not clear yet how to handle those questions, but for the ones that hoped this pandemic would bring people together in solidarity the situation is quite disappointing. We see institutions that do not want to lose their profits even if they are offering a different and reduced service, and students unable to speak out for themselves. Hopefully, by September the virus will be a past concern, but what if it comes again as some spoilers suggested? One thing is sure, uncertainty is the main certainty and making plans is not allowed anymore. And while we are at the mercy of time, big fish eats small fish.

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