Cloud of uncertainty hangs over international students

Following the introduction of Level 3 restrictions in Dublin, international students express their thoughts to Trinity News

International students in Trinity have faced a variety of issues over the past few months; from having to abruptly leave their accommodations in March, to having to self-isolate alone in a dorm room for two weeks before the beginning of this term, and now the uncertainty of when they will be physically in class again following the extension of Level 3 restrictions in Dublin. 

One senior fresh philosophy, political science, economics and sociology (PPES) student expressed that they “don’t mind” they were told to come to Dublin despite having no face-to-face classes, but College “could have been a more communicate given that we didn’t know we weren’t going to have any in-person classes until the last minute”.

A history of art and architecture student explained that they weren’t sure what to expect, and so they had “mixed feelings”.

“On one hand, I was slightly dreading the idea of living alone for two weeks with not much of human interaction, on another I was glad to have a bit more time to get used to Ireland before the classes start,” they explained.

“Not knowing what to expect, or what will happen next was one of the biggest challenges I faced.”

The PPES student also expressed worry about being able to return home for the holiday season, explaining that they and their family “don’t know” what they’re doing, which is a “big problem”, as the student explains that College “haven’t been particularly clear regarding the exam schedule”. 

“Either way, I cannot spend Christmas here alone, like that would just kill me,” the student added. 

The history of art and architecture student, however, expressed that they “doubt” they will be able to return home for the holiday. 

“It wouldn’t make sense to quarantine twice, and right before the exams.”

The student explained that they “do feel upset”, and will continue to feel upset if the Covid-19 restrictions don’t improve. 

“I do have relatives living in countries on the green list, so I’m hoping it’ll stay that way – and I will be able to intersect and spend Christmas with them.”

Speaking about whether Level 5 restrictions are placed on Dublin, the history of art and architecture student expressed that, for international students who have already completed their two week quarantine, they feel like “it would be unfair”, because they would be in the “exact same situation as the Irish students” that live with them but the Irish students can return home. 

The other student expressed that they think it would “be really hard to enforce” Level 5 restrictions in college accommodation. “I think that’s just unrealistic for them to ask,” the student said relating to students being asked to stay in their rooms.

“I would definitely be worried if that were to happen,” the student added. “I don’t think they really have the supports that would be required to facilitate that kind of alone time.”

The PPES student expressed that they felt their mental health would be impacted if Level 5 restrictions were put in place. “I would be completely overwhelmed and unable to deal with it,” they explained.

Speaking similarly about how the restrictions would impact them, the history of art and architecture student said that they’re “not too concerned about it at the moment, but I would definitely not like to be restricted of movement, and pay more money than necessary for the food (like when in quarantine)”. 

“I am not too worried about contracting the virus, I am more worried of how this situation affects my studies,” the student explained. 

In September, international students arriving to Trinity were told they would be charged €350 for meals provided by College during a two-week isolation period ahead of the semester.

Students that arrived at Trinity from countries that were not on the green travel list were required to restrict their movements for 14 days after they entered Ireland.

International students reported to Trinity News that they faced loneliness and boredom, as well as frustration at “vastly overpriced” meals provided by Trinity during their self-isolation period.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.