Being 6500 Miles Away from Family in a Global Pandemic


Mi Chelle Cheah

Being 6500 Miles Away from Family in a Global Pandemic

It's a strange time to be an international student, especially an international student unable to go home due to a global pandemic.

Many friends have flown home, but I've found myself feeling conflicted as I stay in York. Comparing the pros and cons between remaining in the UK and flying home to Malaysia, I found that there wasn't an easy answer. The situation in the UK is becoming more dire and the notion of being on a 20-hour flight home now terrifies me to no end.

Here in York I've been immensely lonely. Despite eating healthily and getting enough sleep, I feel mentally drained and wake up in the morning feeling miserable and homesick. Video calls with family cannot replace the warm hugs, the comforts of my grandmother's homemade food and my younger brother's laughter. I can feel their love and worry through their regular messages, but what I would give to be with them right now amongst all this uncertainty.

"Hope the situation improves so you can come home in the summer", is a message followed by praying and heart emojis. Like my parents, I hope for the light at the end of the tunnel. Deep down I feel like the pandemic will last for a while longer, but I continue to hold on desperately to the hope of seeing them again.

A lot of us are also going through the same situation, wanting to go home for a feeling of comfort in these turbulent times but being unable to, as flight services are reduced and travel bans are implemented. A global pandemic is the last thing we expected when we first came here to study but it is now our reality. It's undoubtedly a lonely time for us all, but I'm sure we'll all get through this together.