International Students Face New Problem Due to the Pandemic
July 13th, 2020
OMAHA – Oman is a country on the Arabian peninsula in West Asia, near Iran and Pakistan. In Oman, the government together with private sponsors pay college tuition outside of the country, to the most outstanding students.
â€œWell, myÂ lastÂ decision when chatting toÂ goÂ studies abroadÂ IÂ hadÂ theÂ (United)Â Stated and the UK.Â IÂ drewÂ theÂ advantagesÂ andÂ disadvantages tableÂ and most otherÂ peopleÂ willÂ doÂ that,Â IÂ knowÂ the USAÂ hasÂ diversity, andÂ peopleÂ come from all over,â€Â Ali Al-Ghaithi, says.
Al-Ghaithi was born in Oman, chose The United States to do his graduate program in Mathematics, his other options were the UK, Germany, and Israel. He came to Omaha in 2014, now he is 24-years-old, and he is doing his graduate program in Data Science, a relatively new program at UNO.
The Trump administration announced a new sudden change in US immigration regulations due to the pandemic levels. Thousands of international students are unsure whether they will be able to study in this country in the fall.
Last week, Immigration released a letter that foreign students must be enrolled in at least one face-to-face class. If not, they have to leave the country. The letter refers to a legal change not yet published, but that will be official, soon.
The UNO International programâ€™s office has been working meticulously with members of the international student community to help affected students stay on track in their academic journey. Students who are not able to meet the requirements, most make plans to leave the country, as UNO Chancellor Jeffrey Gold says in his statement released last week.
UNO is considered one of the most diverse universities in the region, possibly one of the factors that attracted Al-Ghaithi to come to Omaha.
â€œI moved to the Stated by myself and been in this journey for the last six years,â€
Al-Ghaithi, visited his family twice since he moved to the United States. He works as a graduate assistant at UNO to pay for his grad program.
Even though this rule for international students is not new, he worries why the Trump Administration made this decision.
â€œAs an international student, it is a little bit shocking as I was very involved with international students. I have a lot of friends who are very shocked by this and started to be more worried,â€ Al-Ghaithi, says.
LastÂ yearÂ the United States granted almost four hundred thousand visas for foreignÂ studentsÂ typeÂ â€œFâ€ and about one thousand for what isÂ callsÂ vocationalÂ studentsÂ orÂ typeÂ â€œM.â€
The exchange students and visitors program issued an exception, so students could take their classes online when the confinement orders for the pandemic began and all the educational institutions closed their doors. That exception is what changes now.
Some of Al-Ghaiti friends from Oman were not able to be back to the United States to continue with their studies because the American embassy had been closed due to the pandemic.
â€œWe donâ€™t have an option, probably the best option is to wait, when they open you, go an, apply for the visa to be renewed, it is basically, it is so hard to treat different nations in a different way because this basically the only way to get the visa,â€ Al-Ghaithi, says.
At theÂ moment,Â Al-GhaithÂ thinksÂ he isÂ safeÂ and trusts that UNO willÂ doÂ everything possible toÂ ensureÂ that its international students will not have toÂ leaveÂ theÂ countryÂ andÂ continueÂ theirÂ studies.
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