How International Students are Dealing with COVID-19

Baste Endresen, Staff Writer

As we all know, the spring 2020 semester came to a halt due to a dreadful and fast-spreading pandemic. This pandemic has not only shocked  students and staff at Averett, it has shocked the whole wide world as its merciless spread continues.

After the university closed and most people traveled home, it has been interesting to observe how people of different cultures and nationalities have experienced this situation so far, and how their country has approached the issue. In this article, you will get some insight from international students regarding their current status, as we all have a different approach and way of living. 


Averett University values its diversity. The university has managed to have its reputation spread all the way over to Australia as we currently have a few Australians attending our university. Australia seems to be a country that has reacted and dealt with the situation well and early as they have a surprisingly low number of confirmed cases and deaths related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nakia-Lee Goodall, who is an Australian native, attends Averett and is a member of the women’s tennis team. She is still in Danville as she did not have the opportunity to fly home.

“My family is going well with everything back home. They are currently in the same situation as me in America in the way that they are only allowed outside if they are exercising, walking the dog, going to and from work or the shop for necessities,” Goodall, said.

“Australia as a country has been smart in closing down businesses (restaurants and places that don’t need to be open) and only keeping open the grocery stores and pharmacies,” she added. “However, there are a lot of people that aren’t abiding by the new laws. People are still trying to find ways to go to the beach or go out for drives, going fishing, etc. when they know they really shouldn’t. Hopefully, the prime minister puts his foot down a bit harder and then people will realize the importance of social distancing and quarantine.”



Spain, together with Italy, is one of the nations that was struck fiercely by the virus and its horrific effects. To put in perspective, Spain is a country approximately the same size as the state of Texas, and overall the country has experienced 172 655 confirmed cases as well as a devastating 18 150 casualties. While at the same time, the whole of the USA has a combined of 23,649 casualties, which of course is devastating as well. These extreme incidents have taken a big toll on the population and overall the nation of Spain. 

“Our situation back home really difficult because we’ve been in home quarantine with strict regulations for the last four weeks. We can only go out if we have to go to the supermarket or if we have to walk our dogs,” LLuc Pou, a citizen of Spain and a sophomore majoring in personal training and coaching, expressed.


Our university attracts a lot of Finnish and Scandinavian students. Even though Finland is not part of Scandinavia it is in the neighborhood and represents the Scandinavian countries well when it comes to the current state of affairs. Finland is in a pretty similar situation to Australia as they have both dealt with the situation head-on before it got out of hand. 

“I think in Finland we’ve really come together and actually followed the orders and restrictions so we have been able to limit the number of cases. Our government has also done a great job realizing early enough how serious this is,” Lotta Mattila, a Finnish sophomore taking part in Averett’s Women’s Lacrosse Team, said.

“I personally don’t know anyone who’s gotten sick so me and my family have been lucky so far,” she added. “My parents are working from home and my brother’s school is online as well. We only go out to get groceries whenever we need them but otherwise, we stay home, which is really important right now.”

Finland is currently doing relatively well as the nation has a low number of cases and casualties compared to others.


Sweden, on the other hand, has gone with their own quite interesting approach. As of now, Sweden has had about 10,000 cases and 900 deaths. Their open approach has gotten a lot of attention and has frequently been criticized by other nations. 

“The situation in Sweden is as in many other countries in Europe under a lot of stress. Compared to other countries, Sweden has not taken a lot of restrictions. Instead, they have recommendations on how to protect the most vulnerable groups, how to behave in public, and how to decrease the contamination as much as possible. For example, a lot of people are still going to work, but if they feel sick, they are asked to stay at home. Elementary schools are also still open, and a lot of restaurants are open as well. Right now, Sweden is trying to keep the society going as much as possible, but at the same time keeping the pandemic under control. They’re trying to avoid drastic restrictions unless it’s considered necessary. Lastly, only time will tell if this open approach is the right strategy to go or not,” Fabian Howding, a Swedish sophomore and a member of the men’s tennis team, said.

“I am currently at home with my family in Sweden. We are all feeling well. My siblings, who go to high school, are studying at home as well, so I’m not alone during the days. My parents, who are both middle school teachers, are still going to work.” 


Argentina is in the same boat as Australia and Finland. The country reacted quickly and have kept their numbers of cases relatively low. However, the nation took significantly more aggressive and stricter measures. This has crucially affected the Argentinian population that was out traveling during the outbreak of this pandemic. 

“As the situation with the Coronavirus went through really quickly, I got stuck in the USA as most of the Argentinians that were outside the country. Our government closed the borders without making any warning. They also organized flight repatriation but it didn’t make many trips, so, therefore, I don’t really know when I will be able to go home,” Alejandra Garcia Lopez, an international student from Argentina and a member of the women’s tennis team, said.

 Argentina is currently holding strict quarantine laws as they are fighting the virus and keeping their population up to a high standard as they are trying to keep their casualties as low as possible. As of now, the nation is on 2 277 confirmed cases and 98 deaths recording to google. 

“Argentina is now in total lockdown. People are only able to leave their houses once a week in order to get medicines, food, or whatever they need for their daily life. They can also go to walk their dogs but just for one block. There are cops in every block to make sure that people are staying at home. If you don’t respect the quarantine, you are immediately arrested and sent to jail. This is the actual situation in Argentina as of now. It’s really tough and I hope that it all can end as soon as possible.”


Russia and Argentina have approached this issue somewhat similarly as they both have established strict laws following severe punishments such as jail time. Currently, Google is stating that Russia has approximately 21 102 confirmed cases and 170 fatalities. For a sizable nation such as Russia, this is quite impressive, however, the state of the country is not at its best at the moment. 

“My parents and I decided that I will stay in Danville this summer because the situation in my country is going crazy. Our borders are closed and the government has made strict quarantine rules but still make employers pay their workers. But the question is where will they get money from? As a result, many people are losing their jobs during this difficult time.” Elizaveta Anikeeva, a sophomore from Russia, said.

According to Anikeeva, Russia’s strict laws and punishments makes the situation in the country quite uncomfortable.

“The government has initiated a ‘pass control system.’ This means that you have to have a special document to go/drive into/through Moscow. Hospitals are struggling with medical supplies but every day I hear that Russia sends planes with medications to different countries, which is great, I appreciate that but our people from small regions are suffering. Moreover, people are being arrested for walking their dogs which I find crazy. My brother and I asked our parents to stay at home, wash their hands, and be extremely careful. We will have to rely on each other’s strengths because the government will not help us.”

We are all living in peculiar times where there is no right or wrong way to handle this issue. Most nations and governments have to adjust as this develops as we all hope for the best. This is a situation we have not experienced before, but hopefully, it will resolve and give us all peace as soon as possible.