Stay or Leave: International Students in New Zealand Left In Limbo

International students worldwide have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic these past few months and still continue to be affected by it. Specifically, those studying in New Zealand may have to decide between staying in NZ or leaving for the summer. 

The decision might be particularly difficult since there are currently no regulated quarantine plans for when these students return to New Zealand from their home countries, to proceed with their courses, as reported by The Pie News.

NZ International Students’ Association president, Sabrina Alhady, spoke to The Pie News, saying that international students have a challenging decision ahead of them, which is then coupled with the financial difficulties these students have been facing as well. 

“International students have to decide between going back home to see their families (if at all possible given the increased costs and shortage of flights) and to risk disrupting their education, or to stay in New Zealand to continue their education, which means not seeing their families for the next year or so,” she said.

According to the New Zealand education minister, Chris Hipkins, it is unlikely that international students will be able to enter New Zealand this year, due to the risk factors imposed. However, universities in NZ have inquired more information regarding student quarantine from the government, so they can work out a plan as soon as possible. 

Among the challenge of having to decide whether to stay or return to their home countries, these students are also faced with financial issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to a new study by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), a large number of students are experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic.

The study, which surveyed more than 400 international and domestic students, concluded that 30% of these students required assistance to cover the costs of housing and food, while 66% of them admitted to having increased stress levels or anxiety, regarding living costs and study as a result of COVID-19.

New Zealand has been praised worldwide for its management of the pandemic. However, the island country is working to ensure that the situation remains intact, and this, unfortunately, means that the borders might remain closed for international students up until next year.

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