By Estefania Magdalena | Staff Writer

Being an international student is difficult for many reasons, mainly because you are away from your family and loved ones. If we add to this a global pandemic, fear, distance and obligations, it becomes a daily challenge.

When, at first, all the information about the virus began to spread, I didn’t think it was that serious or that it would bring about so many drastic changes in such a chaotic way.

Being away from my country, Argentina, is difficult, but in Hawai‘i I always felt protected by being isolated from the rest of the world. The information from my country, or from other European countries such as Spain and Italy, where I also have a family, does reach me.

I think that the most difficult part is the loved ones who, being very far away, can see news from the United States and call me concerned about the number of cases that exist. For some reason, I never experienced it in fear, but I still took the necessary precautions to not be exposed to the virus. 

During all long distance calls, I always try to convey calm and tell them I’ll be fine, but sometimes fear is inevitable because the information comes so fast and so abruptly that it’s mentally damaging to everyone.

After spring break when classes switched to online mode, I realized that what my parents and friends in my country were saying to me was starting to happen here. That really scared me because Oʻahu is a small island with only 1 million inhabitants.

Either way, I am characterized by my stubbornness and resistance when life gets difficult, and I always knew I was not going back to Argentina. First because I am committed to finishing the semester at KCC with high marks and second because Argentina had already closed contact with the outside world by closing all airports.

I have experienced many difficulties in my life because my country is unstable. Instability and insecurity are breathed every day in Argentina, since I came to this world. All I learned during those economic, social and political crises was the strength of having survived.

For me, this will be a more difficult time that I will only use to propel myself forward, and every time I live a hard situation in the future, I will remember this experience that I lived and defeated. 

I hope this pandemic ends and is resolved soon, so that we can all return to our reality. What we are experiencing sometimes feels like something surreal, or like experiencing a “Black Mirror” episode in the first person.

I would like to tell all the students that If sometimes they feel fear or want to abandon everything it is normal and it is totally fine. But try to maintain a positive attitude and think that if they can get to this point of the semester, they can finish it and finish it well. 

If you are an international student, my advice is to try to stay calm and stay in Hawaiʻi. The safest thing at this point in the situation is to take the appropriate precautions and stay home.