The COVID-19 virus has continued to spread like wildfire in the United States with almost half a million positive cases and over 16,000 deaths. Many Malaysian students there are split between staying put in the US, or coming back home to Malaysia.
Photo via Nikkei Asian Review
According to The Star, some students have decided to leave the United States as soon as they can, though universities are doing their best to make sure that the students are being taken cared of.
23-year-old Malaysian Student Association president at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Shazwan Abdullah said that he intends to return to Malaysia after completing his degree in electrical engineering, after the spring semester this month.
“The Ohio State University’s Office of International Affairs is constantly providing avenues for international students’ well-being throughout this crisis but financial support for getting tested has not really been promoted at this point in time,” he said.
Mohsein Azman, who is the head of the National Assembly of Malaysian Students in America (NAMSA), said with the help of the Malaysian Embassy in Washington, they have a list of airlines still operating out of the United States for those who needed flight tickets home.
The 23-year-old who studies economics and political science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor said: “As a government scholar, my well-being is already looked after by my sponsors. As such, my peers and I will be staying until our scheduled flight back to Malaysia at the end of my last semester this month.”
However, upon returning home to Malaysia, there will be a possibility of inadvertently bringing the virus back with them.
Jasmin Irisha, who is pursuing her Masters in Climate Science at Columbia University in New York City, which is the epicentre of the pandemic in the United States said, “It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves. I recognise the risk of travelling, and being a possible carrier of the coronavirus, especially coming from a high-risk area.”
She completed a two-week quarantine at home upon her return to Malaysia.
Jasmin said she took all the necessary precautions and even disposed of her clothes that she came back with, in case they were contaminated with the virus.
Many students have decided to stay in the United States, as they stated the massive inconvenience and trouble it would take to look for flights and to attend online classes due to the vast differences in time zones.
The Higher Education Ministry on 3 April has advised Malaysians studying overseas to stay in their country of study and follow the instructions of their universities and local universities, though the ministry is not barring the students from returning home either.
So, wherever you are in the world, please take care of yourself and wash your hands regularly. Stay home and stay healthy!
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat