Lafayette - The pandemic has affected us all in some way or another and while covid-19 did stop many from seeing family early on, most of us are now able to. For many international students however, that hasn’t been the case.
"I came here first during fall '19 to do my first master’s in petroleum engineering and since then I haven’t been back to my country," said UL-Lafayette grad student Navid Yousuf.
Another grad student, Arafat Noor said "well, I used to travel every once a year. The last time I traveled to Bangladesh was 2017."
Like many of the one million international students in the U.S., they haven’t been home in years.
"Every day I was planning to go back to my home, something came up," said Yousuf.
From travel restrictions to mandatory quarantines to the fear of catching covid-19, plans to visit his family have fallen through during the pandemic, Yousuf said it’s been difficult these last few years.
"It’s been quite sad for me. Everyday my mom was asking me, ‘when are you coming? When are you coming.’ Every time I replied to her, ‘let’s see, let’s see. I’m hoping to come as soon as possible.’
Thanks to technology students like Noor have been able to keep in contact with family but it just isn’t quite the same as being with them in person.
"My mom was actually like, when I talked to her last time she was saying, ‘should I be seeing on the screen all the time?’ so that really broke my heart actually," he said.
But like many international students Noor and Yousuf are hopeful that they’ll be reunited with their family's sooner rather than later.
"Good days are coming and I’m going to say everybody stay strong," Noor said. "And of course, your family misses you and I’m pretty much sure it’s going to be all worth it when everything gets normal and you’ll be able to see your family and hug them for real in person."
Both men say they do have plans to visit their family next summer after relying on facetimes and text messages for a few years it’s something they both look forward to.