KSU is preparing for international students during the fall 2021 semester to make them feel prepared and welcomed.
“We are planning to have new international students here in the fall. We are planning an orientation program that will be different this year,” said Sarah Malcolm, executive director of the Office of Global Education. “We will have the orientation, the information programming, available online for students. So that students can access that anywhere.”
Along with this, there are events being planned to accommodate everyone. These events will be virtual and in person during orientation week. This is so students can feel connected to each other and prepared for the semester, whether they are at home or on campus, Malcolm said.
At the moment, enrollment can not be predicted. But lack of enthusiasm is not the main problem regarding international students wanting to come to KSU.
“We have seen an increase in applications. The challenge is the U.S. Embassies around the world are not fully operating,” Malcolm said. “So what we are hearing from students is that it’s very difficult for them to get a visa appointment or they get a visa appointment and it gets cancelled or moved to a later date.”
“Restrictions have reduced appointment capacity during the pandemic, which has created a significant backlog of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants awaiting a visa interview,” said NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The U.S. Embassies and Consulates’ first priority is U.S. citizens that are abroad, not citizens who want to come to the U.S. from their home country, which complicates the situation for those applying.
Not only are visa restrictions making it challenging for students to come here, but restrictions from President Biden as well, those who were physically present within:
Schengen Area (an area with 26 European countries)
United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe)
Republic of Ireland
Federative Republic of Brazil
Republic of South Africa
Republic of India
during the 14-day period prior to entry or attempted entry into the U.S. are restricted and suspended, Biden said in a proclamation on Jan. 25, 2021 and added to the list in a proclamation on April 30, 2021.
“They would have to find a country that would let them enter, stay there 14 days and then enter the U.S.,” Malcolm said.
For fall, Malcolm would like to see things return to as normal as they can be. “My hope is that we are back largely face-to-face, as the university is planning on doing. Our office will be open and we will be fully staffed in the fall,” Malcolm said. “We will be available to see students in the manners that students want to see. We will be available if they need to come to us in person and we will be available online and virtually as well.”
Alexandra Golden is a COVID-19 reporter. Contact her at email@example.com.