Covid-19 has affected most parts of our lives and so it did with college sports and scholarships in the US. Many of you might not know whether to still follow your path to the US or whether you should even consider that option. As international students have been allowed to get their Visa, many of our clients went back and can now explain to you, how Covid-19 affects the United States, the college situation, and more. First off, we have Justus Kau, who is actually spending his first semester in the US.
When did you go to the US and to which state and university?
I attend Arizona Christian University which is in Phoenix (Arizona). It is my first year of studying in the US so I am a freshman. And I arrived on the 17th of August.
How is the current state situation?
When I arrived, I had to quarantine for 14 days because there was a law that forced international students from countries such as Germany to quarantine. Meanwhile, this law is not existing anymore, so when you arrive in Arizona these days, you are not forced to quarantine any more.
How was the whole trip?
Due to the rule that there are only a few airports in the US that you are allowed to fly to directly, I had to make a stop in Los Angeles. This made the journey a little more strenuous and time-consuming.
What was your arrival at the airport like, especially the immigration process?
It was striking that the airports were very empty and less busy. This even had the positive effect that the immigration process and every single process at the airport in general required less time than usual.
Were the Visa and I-20 easily accepted?
Yes, already one week after my interview appointment in Frankfurt they sent my passport including the accepted Visa back to my home address. And I already got my I-20 a few months before my Visa interview appointment, because your University is the institution that handles this document out to you.
Did you notice any major differences in the US to Germany?
Personally, for me, the biggest difference that I noticed first is that people are more social and in general more extroverted. This especially becomes apparent in situations, in which you come into contact with people you do not even know, because for example when you walk past foreign people, they often start a conversation with you and ask personal questions and do all this in a very interested and friendly way. This happens in Germany usually only when you already know the other person.
Your quarantine must have been hard, sitting alone for 14 days in your room. How did you cope with that? Did anybody help and support you?
It was of course very boring. And indeed, there are not many things that make the 14 days much more bearable. That is why I spent most of the time watching Netflix and having phone calls with friends and my family. Furthermore, although I could have never believed it, you actually get used to the situation after a few days, so with time, you learn to handle this unusual situation.
How is the quarantine organized at your university? How did the university handle your situation?
Unfortunately, there was not the possibility to replace the quarantine with a negative corona test result. Besides, the quarantine took place on campus in the University’s visitors’ hotel. Every day someone knocked at my door and brought me my meal at certain times.
Were they supportive?
When I needed anything special, I just had to tell my assistant tennis coach.
How was it like to come out of quarantine? Did you have to do any check-ups or did you go straight back into “normality”?
I actually went straight back into normality, which was a great feeling. It was also not a problem that I missed the first week of classes due to my quarantine.
Any signs of a “new normal” at your university and in the US in general
The situation is pretty much the same as in Germany. This means that you just have to wear a mask in closed buildings and during class etc. So I would not say that the corona measures and the situation, in general, are worse than in Germany.
Did you feel unsafe at any point?
I have never felt unsafe in Germany, that is why I have never felt unsafe in the US either since I do not notice big differences between Germany and the US regarding corona.
What would you tell people who are still undecided about whether they should go to the US, especially in Spring 2021?
From my point of view, I would not take corona as a reason for not traveling to the US, since I would not say that it is more dangerous or something like this here. On top of that, the current situation is not nice for any of us, so when you want to study in your home country you also have to expect difficulties.