As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, students everywhere have been confronted with many challenges. From financial stress to concern over their personal health and their families, students have needed to become stronger than ever to make it through such unique times. In the midst of all these challenges to overcome, two students in particular are reminding us that this time is also an opportunity to learn valuable lessons.
First, meet Chandani Lama. In her third year at Wilmington University, Chandani is pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Policy. When asked about her aspirations for the future, she explains that her goals after graduation is to gain “hands-on experience in [an] organization advocating climate change and its impacts.” Her career goal is to eventually open her own “eco-friendly hotel and wellness centers back in [her] home country, Nepal.”
Chandani shares that “being far from home is mentally and socially challenging,” noting that it can often be difficult to share and comfortably communicate the struggles of being an international student with others. Among her favorite things about studying in the United States is the ability to overcome this and become a part of the community. By doing so, Chandani explains how “We are able to enjoy the culture and experiences and upgrade ourselves at the same time.”
ISO asked Chandani what advice she has to share to students like her, who come to study in the United States. She urges her fellow international students to “please come out of your bubble and be friends with the locals and share your story and listen to theirs.” Seeing potential and opportunity in every experience she goes after, Chandani hopes all international students take advantage of their time in the United States.
Despite the pandemic, Chandani has not lost her sense of excitement for opportunity. She tells us how the pandemic has been a “great chance to learn about myself, society, and the world we are living in. We really need peace, compassion. We need to change the way of life, if we don’t want this to be happening again.”
For another student, the pandemic has been an opportunity to learn valuable lessons as well. Meet Martin. From Germany, Martin is a J Scholar researching at University of Cincinnati. Similar to Chandani, among Martin’s favorite things about studying in the United States is the exposure to communities of diverse backgrounds.
As students like Chandani and Martin are so brave and inspiring to share, there is always a lesson to learn and a positive outcome to take away from every experience in life. The pandemic has created many challenges for students; however, it is also a chance to adapt, reflect, and learn lessons that we all can carry with us out of quarantine once these times pass.