Interview: How expat students are coping with being abroad during the COVID-19 crisis

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Published 2020-03-26 08:03

Not one economic sector or population segment is left unscathed by the current health crisis linked to the COVID-19. Schools closing have affected the world of education everywhere around the world. Enakshee, a Mauritian student living in Vancouver shares with us how she is coping with this crisis.

Where do you come from and what brought you to Canada? How long have you been living there?

I come from Mauritius Island, from the city of Curepipe. I have been living in Canada for the past 5 years. I chose Vancouver because it is not that cold here and because the university looked really good. 

I have studied at UBC (The University of British Columbia) for 4 years in Chemical Engineering, and after my graduation I started to study Finances, online, with the CFA Institute (Chartered Financial Analyst Program). In the meantime, I work full time at the Alliance Française de Vancouver.     

How does the Coronavirus crisis impact your day-to-day life?  

We still have online classes but June exams have been cancelled because all countries would need to take the exam on the exact same day. With the situation, some students cannot focus on their work anymore. China, for example, was the first to cancel everything. 

We have an online platform for students and teachers everywhere in the world to interact with each other. Watchword is “Continue to study, continue to study.” 

Regarding my job, as Canadians are still not in complete lockdown, I can go to work at Alliance Francaise every day. The school is not open to students but we are still working until the school closes or until total lockdown. 

Going out is not recommended if not essential and only with 2m social distancing between people. But there are still a lot of people in parks and on the beach who are not following the rules. Thankfully, the majority of Canadians are already  in confinement. 

Unless for work and grocery shopping, I am not going out anymore. No more restaurants, no more bars, nothing. I am preparing myself for a total lockdown even though it becomes difficult to stock food. Canadians are in panic mode, they bought everything. Stores are empty , no more eggs, no more milk, it’s crazy. 

Do you follow what is happening in Mauritius Island? Have you thought about going back to your home country?

No, staying in Canada was obvious for me. I didn’t want to travel and to take any chances to be contaminated, to contaminate my family or to be quarantined, maybe lose my job and not be able to come back to Vancouver. 

My family is fine. They are at home. They are watching TV and gardening. I really hope that border closure and total lockdown will be efficient.