The rapid spread of the coronavirus has caused uncertainty to loom over the heads of students and school officials, causing campus shutdowns across a variety of areas and services.
Lehigh is among many schools across the nation that took extra measures to ensure protections and asked that all international students travel home to their respective countries.
International students who had to travel home are now faced with the burden of taking online classes, regardless of time differences.
Lehigh takes pride in the number of international students represented on campus. International students make up about 16 percent of the student body, according to College Factual.
All students were required to leave campus, which left many international students questioning how they would return home and manage classes from across the globe.
Misha Emanuilov, ‘21, a student from Galway, Ireland, was studying abroad at Lehigh for the semester. His time at Lehigh was cut short due to the coronavirus, and he was forced to fly home.
He has been keeping up with his classes via Zoom, one of the online platforms professors are using to teach their classes virtually.
With the four-hour time difference, many of Emanuilov’s morning classes are now held in the afternoon.
Many students say their professors have been accommodating of the time differences and are recording lectures for students to watch on their own time.
This has helped Lenke Havas, ‘21, who lives in the Netherlands. With a time difference of five hours, many of her classes are held at night for her, which means that her days are backward, and she has to ‘attend’ class from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“(Professors) should be more accommodating for people that have bigger time changes, because they shouldn’t be expected to be able to attend classes that may be held in the middle of the night for them,” Lenke said. “I don’t think attendance should weigh as much on people’s grades.”
Beatrice Pinetti, ‘22, who is from Milan, Italy, was not able to go home due to the current travel ban. Since she had to leave campus, she is staying with her grandparents in Florida.
She said the transition has been difficult for her, since she can’t be with her family in Italy.
“It’s upsetting because this is my opportunity to be in college,” Pinetti said. “I came all the way to the U.S. to have a college experience and I’m not living it fully.”
Many students agree with Pinetti that their college experience is being greatly impacted by the sudden move to online classes.
Diego Lara, ‘22, the multimedia editor for The Brown and White from Guatemala City, Guatemala, was shocked at how suddenly students were told they had to leave.
“I thought that it was better for my academics to stay (at Lehigh), given the time difference and the access to professors,” Lara said. “But, in the end, I think it was better that I came here right away because the borders were closed on Tuesday.”
Lara said many of his professors have been accommodating of international students, opting to record classes rather than hold live sessions.
While the outbreak of coronavirus has had a great impact on Lehigh students and faculty, many professors are working to ensure that they are being flexible for students who have been sent home, specifically international students.