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International students unsure of future in United States

Posted at 4:57 AM, Jul 17, 2020

International students who only take online courses are now allowed to stay in the U.S.

Earlier this week, the Trump administration rescinded a policy that would have stripped visas from those students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here in Lafayette, the international student population is relieved to be staying, but some say this is a permanent impression left on their experience in the states.

Asiman Saidzade is an international student who is passionate about his studies in the petroleum engineering program. He says he enjoys both his school work and his peers at UL Lafayette.

"We have a really diverse team from all over the world from different countries and the whole experience in UL is kind of learning about different cultures,"said Saidzade.

This community was shaken up a couple of weeks back when President Trump announced many of them would have to leave.

"It was driving me not to work any more. It doesn't give me any reason to motivate anymore. The personal drive was fading away," said Arafat Rabby, who is a chemical engineering student at ULL. He adds that he was afraid of what he'd have to do if booted from the states. "Back at home, where I come from like Azerbaijan, the cases are rising. We don't have the visas and everything right now. The planes and everything is shut down so I have no place to go."

Now that the initial plan has been dropped, UL Lafayette's international population is relieved. However, some students are now unsure of their future in the states.

"Might as well keep options for somewhere else, for a country that will welcome you with warm hearts. And respect me the way I can contribute to the society with my mind, with my education, with my creativity," said Rabby.

Navid Yousef, a petroleum engineering student in the international program says he feels under-appreciated.

"We international students have done quite a lot for this country. We have contributed in society, economy and most significantly our contribution in R and D. That's huge," he said. "If we were forced to leave the country or not allowed to enter, I think most university research projects would come to a standstill because they are carried out by international students mostly."

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