As fall semester classes come to a close, the development of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and accompanying potential of international border closure is complicating international students’ travel plans of going home for winter break. Depending on their home countries’ ever-shifting COVID-19 restrictions and regulations, students have been forced to make difficult travel decisions for winter break.
Following a programming series for ‘international students week,’ the International Student Alliance (ISA) organized a celebration reflecting on a bittersweet year, which took place at 30 College on Thursday afternoon. While the celebration was an uplifting and recreational event, many international students also voiced frustrations and concerns in response to the uncertainties that lie ahead.
‘This International Life’: Professor Devgan talks about lived experiences as an international student
As part of programming for International Week, which celebrates international students and occurs in the last week of every April, Bowdoin’s International Student Association (ISA) hosted a talk led by Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology Shruti Devgan “This International Life.” Devgan, a former international student and current international scholar herself, shared her own experiences with these identities as well as her perspective on how recent events have challenged and complicated the experience of international students in the United States.
Federal officials announced late Monday that international students from Brazil, China, Iran and South Africa will join students from Europe in being exempt from the nation’s COVID-19 travel bans in the fall—a long-anticipated move that will clear a significant roadblock in the return of many international students who left for their home countries at the start of the pandemic.
As the Class of 2021 enters their final semester, seniors are planning for life after Bowdoin. For international students, however, the matter is much more complicated. Some will return to their home country and some will explore other countries, while others are intending to stay in the United States to pursue citizenship and a career here.
When Renske Kerkhofs ’24 left their home country of Belgium to go to Bowdoin this fall, they did not expect to return home until May. “My plan was to stay all through winter break and then just go straight into the spring semester.
In a reversal of the College’s previous policy, which imposed a strict November 21 deadline for all on-campus students to move out, a select group of students were informed last week that they have been approved to stay on campus beyond that date.
Every Monday, Jill Tian ’21, who is studying in Beijing, China, logs into her first Zoom class at 9 p.m. and continues to stay on Zoom until 2:30 a.m., eventually going to sleep around 3 a.m.
During the first month at Bowdoin, the most common question everybody asked me was “Where are you from?” I think I just gave up at a certain point (maybe starting this semester) and gave them what they wanted to hear—“I’m Chinese American.” To be honest, I don’t even think I answered their question, but it was enough.
All students living on campus are required to disclose their departure plans to the administration by October 2, Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi announced in an email to these students on September 17. The announcement has heightened feelings of anxiety and uncertainty among students for whom returning home is not a possibility and who are still unsure whether they will have an opportunity to apply to stay on campus during the winter holidays or the spring semester.
With the semester well underway, the looming possibility of the College experiencing an emergency closure and sending all residents home is a persistent threat. For international students living on campus, this threat raises a number of questions regarding embassy closures, time differences and access to technology in their home countries.
The College announced July 27 that it is now able to host international first years on campus due to a recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directive. The news walks back President Clayton Rose’s announcement on July 23 that first-year international students would be barred from campus in the fall.
The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is rescinding its July 6 directive which would have barred international students taking entirely online classes from remaining in the United States, a measure embroiled in controversy since its announcement a week ago.
In a Zoom Town Hall for international students hosted Thursday morning, College administrators answered questions from international students adversely impacted by the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidance which would deny current student visa holders legal presence in the United States if their classes are held entirely online.
Bowdoin to submit amicus briefs in support of Harvard and MIT lawsuit; joins dozens of higher ed institutions
In an email sent to the community yesterday, President Clayton Rose wrote that Bowdoin will submit an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit that Harvard University, the University of Southern California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) submitted on Wednesday.
A new directive announced by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) on Monday that strips international students studying remotely of their legal immigration status prompted panic and feelings of uncertainty amongst Bowdoin’s international student community.
Since March 18, Shuhao Liu ’22 has been the only student living in Quinby House, a College House that, just two weeks ago, 24 students called home. “It’s kinda spooky, honestly,” Liu said. In one week, Liu will return home to Beijing, China, where he will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
Ever wondered what being an international student at Bowdoin entails? Shining light on the international student experience, “The I-20s: an International Student Exhibit” opened Wednesday night in David Saul Smith Union’s Lamarche Gallery as part of International Week programming.
On Tuesday, surrounded by oil paintings of Maine’s coast, a small group of students gathered for an intimate conversation in Lancaster Lounge about the presence of international voices at Bowdoin and the neglect international students feel on campus.
Thirteen portraits on a slanting wall in David Saul Smith Union show students’ faces superposed over images that remind them of home. The art is striking, as is the message behind it. Cheng-Chun (Kevin) Yu ’19 and Shinhee Kang ’18, who created the exhibit together, hope to shed light on the presence of international students at Bowdoin and the unique challenges they face as they try to fit in and access the same opportunities as domestic students.