CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Students at the U of I are home for spring break, but they won’t be back in classrooms anytime soon with the university’s decision to put classes online because of COVID-19.
Student Prashasti Srivastav is here from India, and says she’s stuck in Champaign-Urbana. She’s been here since January for a study abroad program, and says going home isn’t so easy for her.
The school sent an email to their study abroad students, cancelling their programs. They were supposed to go through May, but he U of I is recommending that they go home now.
Srivastav says going to India right now would be almost impossible. She usually has to fly through Europe, which has a travel ban right now.
“I’m going to be stuck. The other options are to fly through China, and that’s scary. There’s one more option to fly through Canada right now,” says Srivastav.
But she does not have the necessary travel visa to go through Canada right now. Srivastav says getting one can be expensive. The university is offering guidance and financial assistance to study abroad students at this time, but Srivastav says the whole process is lengthy and unclear. She says many study abroad students she knows at the U of I and around the country are in similar circumstances.
Srivastav says another set-back is income. She works at university dining halls, which are closed right now for spring break. She’s worried they might keep them closed or limit hours with students home for online classes.
“Uncertainty surrounds my future at this point. All the financial strain…the mental stress, and the agony. That is something i am going through right now,” says Srivastav.