Can’t Get Home – The initiative to help international students cope with staying in Ireland

Ria McGuire

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have launched a virtual campaign for international students within Ireland.

The #cantgethome campaign centers on international students who are unable to travel home due to Covid-19.

Yuen Wei Siew, an international student studying at DCU said: “It’s an add-on stress not having the choice to visit my family during the semester break.”

“It’s a daily task to keep myself busy just to take my mind off the fact that I won’t be able to see my family for another year or so,” said Siew.

Adam Clarke, the Vice President for Postgraduate Affairs, said “the conversation about the campaign began in the postgraduate spectrum.”

A postgraduate is a student who has successfully completed their undergraduate degree and is furthering their studies at a more advanced level.

“In late October, a person began opening up about the dread and difficulty they were fearing as we approached Christmas,” he said.

“It prompted a discussion among the group that in the interest of safety [international students] were not traveling home and spending winter break with their loved ones.”

“In that group, we kind of devised the initial stages of what became the #cantgethome campaign,” added Clarke.

Sathishaa Mohan, an international DCU journalism student said: “It was really hard, it was awful, it was the worst time ever when the pandemic started.”

When the pandemic started in March, Mohan received news from her family in Malaysia.

“When I heard that my grandmother passed away my mom said: ‘So can you come back now, can you see your grandmother one last time.”

“It’s hard because as an international student you have to take into account the finances,” said Mohan.

“I can’t afford to fail a subject, I can’t afford to differ a semester, I pay 15,000 a year.”

“It was a tough decision to miss my grandmother’s funeral, first of all, it’s a grim occasion and second of all it’s hard to move on,” said Mohan.

According to the Irish Universities Association, there are currently over 32,000 international students in Ireland.

“I think it can happen we can forget about international students, people who are contributing to the Irish education system from all across the world,” said Clarke.

“I’d like to see international students and their issues enter into wider discussions in all walks of life, not necessarily just education.”

Ria McGuire

Image Credit: USI

Note: This article was reuploaded on 26/03/21 due to a fault with The College View website.