Coronavirus: UWS International Students to Pay the Price

by Mya Bollan

UWS international students might face fierce fares as many are hoping to head home.

With the outbreak of coronavirus taking control of the way we live, the UK government and NHS are urging those with symptoms – however mild – to self isolate.

The University of the West of Scotland is asking students not to attend campuses from today providing online learning where possible.

However, this is the least of some student’s worries. UWS hosts a vast number of international students- from ERASMUS students at the University short term to international students attending for a year or for the full length of their degree.


On top of class cancellations and self isolation instructions, may international students have the added anxiety of getting home. When or if they will be able to travel back to their home country.

Stefani Mlinaric is a 2nd year music student from Canada. She is studying at UWS on an exchange year from Wilfred Laurier University in Ontario, Canada.  Canadian Prime Minister is set to address the nation after a weekend that saw health officials in the country tighten their belt in bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

With this in mind, and the closure of Canadian borders a possible if not probable conclusion, Stef booked a one -way flight home. However, her bank balance took an all mighty hit in order for her to get herself back on Canadian soil:

“I booked a flight for first thing on Monday morning… my flight got cancelled.

“But I managed to get another flight, scheduled for Tuesday morning.

“That one finally went through, cost me $2500”

“I am upset that this was so last minute. I have mixed emotions. I am sad to have to leave but I know it is best. We are expecting our Prime Minister to take steps like the US have. Which would mean borders would be closed, I would be stuck here and couldn’t get home.

“My studies are due to finish up in the next 6 weeks and my plan was to head home end of April but I honestly just couldn’t risk it.”

“I’m so lucky. My parents are concerned that I wouldn’t get home so they have helped me to pay for my flight home.

“But not everybody is as lucky. I know my Canadian friend who is also on my course is travelling back on the same flight – he has had to use emergency funds to get home which leaves him in a real difficult position. We still have to pay rent back here in Scotland after we will already be back home too!”

Financial conditions of some students may mean that they are unable to pay the costs to get themselves home. Self isolation miles from home is something that these students are facing in the coming months as there is a lack of financial support.

In addition to financial concerns, isolation so far from loved ones is lonely. The inability to social and attend classes will ultimately add to the difficulty, loneliness is a worrying factor for those who cannot afford that plane ticket.  

Looking after your mental health is crucial during times of self isolation. Support is required for those who may be facing lonely times over the coming weeks or months.

Mental health organisation “Mind”  have provided tips and information about coronavirus and mental health.

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