International College Students and COVID-19 Concerns


Lillian King

Mercer International student, Lucia Guiterrez, sits outside on campus working on an assignment.

For international students in the U.S., the start of the COVID-19 pandemic presented uncertainties surrounding every part of their life. Questions arose such as will they be able to fly back to the United States, or will their university even have classes in the upcoming semester? 

Mercer University student, Lucia Guiterrez is from Bolivia. She is among the international students who expressed concerns about her educational future because of the pandemic. 

“I wasn’t sure if Mercer was going to open back up because at home, school is completely canceled for the entire year,” Guiterrez said. 

Parents of these international students were also left with concern about their children’s health and well-being while attending colleges in the US.  

“My mom was really worried about me. She prepared me like I was going to war. I had to wear a facemask, a face shield, antivirus jackets, and goggles on the plane, Guiterrez said.  “I felt a little ridiculous, but I wore them because I knew it was going to make my mom comfortable with my flight.”  

Although once students arrive at Universitiesin the U.S., the worries continue. Guiterrez said she is worried about her future ability to return to the United States after going home for the long break.  

“After the break, I am scared that COVID is going to be bad again, and they will close everything, and I won’t be able to come back,”  Guiterrez said.

Despite the stress and turmoil that’s being faced by international students like Guiterrez, some have chosen to see the bright side of the situation, and see the opportunities they are given.  

“I know that everything is kind of crazy and scary right now.  Despite all of this, I am very appreciative to be at such a great university that has made me feel safe and thankful during this pandemic,” Guiterrez said. 

Lucia Guiterrez is a senior marketing major who is looking to graduate spring 2021 and pursue a career in business marketing.