International Students Living on Campus During the COVID-19 Pandemic

EvCC now accommodates 62 international students in its two residence halls during the crisis.


Courtesy of Clipper archives

The Mountain View Hall dorms, where many of EvCC’s international students are living.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many international students staying on campus housing have decided to pack up and go back to their home countries. But for those who decided to stay, navigating through this pandemic in the U.S as foreigners can go with a mixture of concerns, insecurities and frustrations.

Courtesy photo from Kaylie Vo
EvCC international student Kaylie Vo in Cedar Hall on Apr. 26, 2020.

“I felt like being left on my own to chart a course, going home to join my family is the best, but it just costs a lot,” said 19-year-old Kaylie Vo, an international student from Vietnam at EvCC. Vo is one of the international students remaining on campus during this pandemic. According to Vo, what she and her international mates have to deal with is beyond frustrating, both physically and emotionally since they are dealing with the pandemic both as foreigners living in the United States and as a citizen of their home countries.

To Yuexin Li, an international student from China who currently stays in an EvCC residence hall, her homesickness now has been worsened by her anxiety about the dramatic spread of COVID-19 in the United States. “I am so stressed about what will happen if I have the coronavirus, can I get the treatment on time here, I want to be with my family,” Li says. Indeed, being away from their families during this crisis has led to plenty of emotional insecurities among those students.

Courtesy photo from Yuexin Li
Yuexin Li, EvCC student from China, in Everett last January.

Compared to domestic students, EvCC international students are going through the crisis with more anxieties and struggles since it’s not easy for them to seek places for support and feel connected. Due to the stay-at-home order, international students’ access to essentials like groceries has been restrained, which causes more inconvenience to their daily life. The lack of access to information about healthcare services for foreigners during this crisis also triggers confusion and uncertainty in those students. 

According to Lea Wasson, Assistant Director of Residence Life at Everett Community College, as of now, no residents in student housing have been tested positive with COVID-19. Wasson said the college already has all the steps planned for its emergency response to the risk of Coronavirus transmission in its residence halls, including restricting guests and visitors from entering the building, disinfecting common spaces and touch points regularly, providing supplies like hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, etc. 

Courtesy photo from Lea Wasson
Assistant Director of Residence Life, Lea Wasson’s office. Physical barriers like this gate are in place to practice social distancing so staff can assist students safely.

“We are focusing more on our availability to our students and communicating as much as we can to ensure their questions and issues have been addressed during this time,” said Associate Director of International Education, Hannah Lee. To support international students in this global pandemic, staff members of EvCC International Education Office have been providing immediate assistance to those in need, doing virtual check-ins with students, and organizing shuttle trips to local grocery stores so students can purchase essentials safely.

EvCC now accommodates 62 international students in its two residence halls during the crisis. The housing staff is committed to fully support those housing students who have no other option but staying on campus for the remainder of the quarter.