Students staying put

As Australia’s response to COVID-19 continues to ramp up, many international and exchange students are caught in limbo.

Whether by personal choice or advice from family, some are continuing their tertiary studies abroad in Australia.

Meet Jack Furbank

Jack Furbank is staying at a Perth residential college during the pandemic. Photo: supplied.

Jack Furbank is an exchange student who has decided to stay in Australia during the pandemic. Originally from London, he currently studies Commerce at the University of Western Australia.

After discussions with his family, he decided he would put himself and his family in more risk if he left Perth, as he explains below.

Latest figures show there are nearly a thousand cases of coronavirus in London.

“Why would I go from WA where the case number is low compared to London, where there is hundreds or thousands of cases, and that number will only go up more quickly in London,” Jack said.

Jack worries he would pick up the virus and pass it onto his family if he went home and feels safer and happier in Australia.

Due to travel restrictions his family have cancelled their trip to Australia in eight days. They are sad they cannot see Jack but support and agree with his decision to stay in Perth.

This is Christine Lee

Christine Lee studies her degree in Melbourne and is staying put during the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: supplied.

An international student from South Korea, Christine Lee is prepared to stay in Melbourne after advice from her parents.

The majority of flights to South Korea have been cancelled and even if she did get a flight she may have to be in transit for multiple days.

Christine is enrolled in Pharmacy at Monash University which has told her it is unsure how her course will proceed.

If she went home and could not return to Australia, she said she would miss out on the intake and waste a year.

Being an international student Christine is independent in many aspects of her life and said the virus adds to the many stresses of normal university and study life.

Christine wants to be home in South Korea but knows it’s best for her health and studies.

“I would feel safer in South Korea, there is enough medical and emotional support for me and I think they are handling the situation better than Australia,” she admitted.

“I am anxious and far away from home.”

Cass Beasley calling from quarantine

A week ago, Cass was in Incheon, South Korea having the time of her life, now she is back on Australian soil in self-quarantine.

While some students decided to stay in Australia, Cass was an exchange student who came home.

Cass is quarantined at her Dad’s house because she sublet her unit out when she went on exchange.

She only has the suitcase full of winter clothes she took away.

Cass said self-quarantine is frustrating as it depends on everyone else helping out and you can feel quite powerless.

Cass was able to re-enrol in units at Curtin University but is three weeks behind in content.

“Uni had already started three weeks before I returned home, and I am not allowed in class for another two,” she noted.

Although studying has been her ultimate pastime, Cass said there is only so much one can do before their brain cannot take anymore.

Cass Beasley discusses life in self quarantine. Video: Bella Kitchen.