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1. I was an international student admissions evaluator & advisor for 3 years. I’ve issued I-20s. I’ve had countless international students in my office. I currently still work in international admissions/collegiate administration. 1/14
2. I am not/have never been an international student, but I want US natives to understand why their international classmates/students/peers are freaking out & overwhelmed right now:
- Imagine you were admitted to a university in a foreign country. It’s prestigious and exciting.
3. - You can only get the visa paperwork to come if you fork over/provide proof of enough money for a full year’s tuition, living expenses, MANDATORY student insurance, and various fees.
- Maybe you get lucky or are awarded funding based on your merit to offset costs. Maybe not.
4. - Regardless, you or your family scrape together enough funding so you can get the paperwork to APPLY for a visa. It’s not guaranteed.
- You then have to apply for a visa appointment. Which is next to impossible right now due to covid, but let’s say you did it in the past.
5. - You go meet with an embassy or consulate official, and after a nerve-wracking interview, you are relieved to find you have been accepted to get a student visa. BUT you still have to get accepted at the port of entry when your flight arrives to the US.
6. - Bear in mind that discrimination exists everywhere and you are looked at more suspiciously depending on your country of origin.
- But let’s say everything goes well and you were able to come on-campus for Fall 2019 or Spring 2020. Then COVID hits with a vengeance.
7. - Your school shuts down. You’re nervous, because your visa is dependent upon your on-campus enrollment, remember?
- thankfully, the US government approves as an exception for you to take classes online so your visa status remains in good standing.

But then policy changes.
8. - Suddenly the rules for Fall 2020 have changed. You can’t be a fully online student in the US with your F-1 student visa. You HAVE to take at least SOME credits on campus.
- Your school is going fully online due to COVID? Too bad, the govnmt says. Transfer or leave.
9. - the international student transfer process takes months. It takes approval from both universities and transferring visa & govnment records. It’s nearly impossible to transfer now, this late, for the Fall 2020 semester.
10. - Just leave? You can’t work and study full-time with your visa, so where do you have the money to leave? Your family back home May he dealing with COVID and can’t help you come back. Plus, travel is dangerous, so you’re exposing yourself and once again endangering yourself.
11. - Or WHAT IF there is a travel ban currently going on? The US govnmnt has banned travel to/from certain countries. What if you CAN’T get home? You’re stuck in the US out of status. Good luck on getting back to the US or getting reinstated if you go out of status.
12. - let’s say you’re “lucky”. Your school is either staying on-campus or going hybrid. You still face the risk of exposing yourself and your family to COVID. Let’s say you catch it - playing for medical services in the US as a foreign student? Sounds awful, doesn’t it?
13. - you’re stranded, stuck between impossible scenarios and potential tragedy. But let’s add a potential language barrier. You can speak English, but you know some people judge your abilities based on how well you speak their language. You may not get the help that you need.
14. This is the reality hundreds of thousands of international students are facing right now. They’re scared, and they have every damn right to be. This is unethical, wrong, and will have so many negative effects for the US. #studentvisa #internationalstudents #YouBelongHere
I’ve already said a lot about the #StudentBan but I just want to let INTL students know that while it seems very hopeless & that no one cares about your situation, there are staff and faculty at your university who do care & are doing everything in their power to help you stay.❤️
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