In light of anti-immigrant and “America First” policies, the last four years have been incredibly difficult for international students. The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the racial and socio-economic inequality on our campuses. While the majority of the international students returned to their home countries or otherwise found safe accommodations with close friends or extended family in the U.S., a small number of students remained in residence on campus because of travel restrictions, limited financial resources, lack of reliable internet access back home, or health and safety concerns. Students who remained on campus had to adjust quickly to online learning and social support available under conditions of lockdown, social distancing, and a limited student affairs presence – all of which was different from what the international students expected when they made the decision to study in the U.S.
While these students faced difficult personal and educational circumstances, they also showed remarkable resilience. This project tells the stories of 15 international undergraduates who remained in campus residence in North Carolina during the pandemic.
This project serves as documentation for the student experiences during this unprecedented time for our institutional records. It is a Story+ Summer 2021 project and administered by Duke University Franklin Humanities Institute. Funding is provided by Duke University, Davidson College, and Methodist University.