Earlier this March, I was among the millions of international students who were forced to leave their countries of education as the growing pandemic threatened our health and safety. Today we face a new set of challenges in returning to these countries as we see rising sentiments of xenophobia and anti-immigration masked as “protecting the safety of our people” from their leaders.
Earlier in July, ICE released news that international students would not be able to remain in the United States taking online classes, regardless of the danger of joining in-person classes and some students not having another “home” to go back to if deported. This decision left me with a deep feeling of disappointment and alienation, as the country I had considered to be my home for the last two years was now shutting its doors completely from my return. The clear disregard for me and the 1 million other students on F-1 visas in the United States has forced me to re-evaluate my future prospects and whether or not it is where I see myself living and working in the future.
Diversity is Our Strength
As we face these hardships as immigrants, it’s important to remain resilient and proud of our identities. It is easy to feel demoralized and even embarrassed to be closed out of the country we were calling home, but we must remember that these places would not be as rich in wealth and culture without us. We bring unique experiences and knowledge that deserve to be shared with our peers, and if people let chauvinism blind them from this opportunity they will live life at a disadvantage from the rest.
Whatever challenges you’re facing right now, we hear and support you. If you would like to share your story, reach out to Marroc’s instagram @marroc_clothing or to me directly @tomasangelini_ and I’d love to chat.
Remember, we don’t belong anywhere – we belong everywhere.