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Le Coronavirus met fin aux études à l’étranger

Written by on 25 mars 2020

The current coronavirus pandemic has caused massive disruption for students studying on their year abroad. Some have opted to stay abroad, but risk ending up stranded, but others were forced to take the difficult decision to head home. We spoke with students from the University of Cambridge such as Kristin and Dan, who have returned from France.

<< I really didn’t want to leave, but my parents and teacher were insistent that I should as the borders could eventually close. >>

<< I had no intention of leaving at all, and then there were rumours going round that France would be put under quarantine, and that made me think I should probably get out of here because things get more serious. >>

But for students such as Phoebe who was in Ecuador and Bertie who was in Russia, the decision happened really quite quickly.

<< My parents were basically saying you cannot stay there’s no way we can let you get stuck in another country on the other side of the world for an indefinite amount of time. >>

<< Suddenly people who seemed more set on staying here than I did a few days ago this morning were telling me that they had flights booked for this afternoon and things like that, which kind of made me think maybe it is time to go. >>

For Rebecca who was in Argentina, Bertie in Russia and Eddy in Germany, unsurprisingly, healthcare was one of the main concerns.

<< I felt like were things to go wrong and I needed medical assistance, not only for Coronavirus but for anything else I’d be better placed if I was in England. >>

<< Even though we are young and fit and healthy, and would probably be fine there’s a chance that anyone could be hooked up to the ventilator and you wouldn’t necessarily want that. >>

<< My insurance was possibly not going to cover it or it would become quite expensive and I would have to pay the bill and claim back on insurance and I wasn’t sure exactly how that would all work. >>

And for Bertie, as much as he wanted to stay in Russia, visa complications and timings meant that it simply was not possible and the prospect of staying out there was actually quite scary. 

<< Renewing your visa means submitting your passport, and they could have your passport for up to six weeks. My parents and I were becoming uneasy at the thought of not having my passport on me for potentially the crunch point of this coronavirus crisis. >>

Nevertheless, the feeling to be home during this period of quarantine was a relief for many.

<< Being trapped quite far away on the other side of the world was quite scary for me. >>

<< It’s just a very uncertain situation, and I guess I would rather be with my family and if everything calms down I would love to go back to Ecuador. >>

<< Who knows what the future holds, no one knows a thing. You’ve just got to follow updates and hope for the best. >> 


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