COVID-19 and International Students

Irene Jiang

As day students have been returning to campus in-person, it is apparent that the student body seems much smaller. Due to the effects of COVID-19, many of Prep’s international students had to return to their home countries last semester. Many of them are still at home, attending classes through Zoom. 

However, there is an international student who did not return home over the summer. I chatted with Annabella Yang ’21, the only female dormer left in the Prep dorms when the 2019-2020 school year ended. 

When asked about her solo experience living in the dorms over the summer, Annabella said that although it was interesting, time seemed to pass by very slowly. She told me that towards the end of summer, the dorms finally finished all their construction, and she was able to spend a lot of time cooking in the newly-built community kitchen. 

Although there wasn’t much for her to do, she still tried to look for fun things to do. She said that she would walk around campus, enjoying the peace and quiet. She admitted that it definitely felt different because it seemed like there was no one else around anywhere on campus, both at Prep and SJU. One of Annabella’s most memorable moments from the summer was celebrating her birthday in bathroom. She says, “The RA’s were really nice and bought me a birthday cake but then there was a tornado warning causing us to stay in the bathroom for over 30 minutes.” 

Annabella was sad that she was not able to go back home so she was also very glad to see new faces again once other dormers started arriving on campus. She says, “It was nice to get to talk to other people again! Most of the students in the dorms this year are new and it is great to talk about our cultures and why we came to Prep.” When asked about how other dormers feel living in the dorms right now, she told me that everyone in the dorms is being very careful and that the dorm staff is doing a good job trying to keep everyone all safe. Overall, she thinks that dorm life hasn’t changed too much and she thinks that everything will return back to “normal” slowly.

Now, Annabella is doing eLearning from the dorms. Annabella was the only eLearner in the dorms for a long time. She is very thankful for how patient the teachers have been with the process of switching between online and in-person students. She feels like they have been answering all her questions and trying to help as much as possible even when the occasional problem arises.