Concord International Students Face Unique Challenges This Fall Semester

Between masks, COVID testing, and vaccinations, this fall semester has been filled with strange things that everyone is trying to get adapt to. However, for the international students at Concord University, there are added conditions that make things more of a hassle. 

When speaking of these conditions, nobody knows more about the added stress that comes with being an international student than the students themselves.  

Leigh Wightman is a senior on the Concord Women’s soccer team from Manchester, England and when asked about how COVID affected her travels, she made it noticeably clear that it has changed a lot. 

“It massively complicated it. It increased the amount of flights, it increased the amount of money going into travel such as I had to pay for tests when I was home.”  

Leigh Wightman

Daniel Culverwell is a senior on the Men’s Soccer team from London, England. His struggles much like Leigh centered mainly through travel.  

“There used to be a lot more choice when choosing flights. Now they’re more expensive and less frequent as they’re operating at about 50% their usual capacity.” 

Daniel Culverwell

Travel complications aside, the protocols in England are also different than they are here in terms of COVID. 

“Back in England there’s a lot more rules especially when it first started,” Leigh said. “Quarantine was massive. Isolation was massive. You weren’t allowed to drive around allowed to drive around without a permit saying your purpose as to why you’re traveling around.” 

Daniel furthered this point by saying, “It is way bigger there than it is here.” He even went on to joke, “America is 100% the land of the free.”  

As Leigh and Daniel are both athletes, it was important to get their thoughts on how COVID may affect their upcoming seasons. 

Leigh expects a fairly normal season but anticipates an impact.  

“I do think we will be impacted by COVID whether it’s a change of schedule or a delay of games,” she said. 

When asked the same question, Daniel simply said, “I’m hoping so!” 

Nancy Ellison, Director of Multicultural Affairs, says the pandemic has affected the number of International Students at Concord.  

“Every semester, just as we normally do, we had students graduate and students transfer to other schools and had news students arrive. However, in the summer of 2020 many embassies and consulates were closed. This prevented potential new students from getting a visa. Our numbers were way down in the fall of 2020 because of this,”

Nancy Ellison

In the fall of 2019, Ellison reported 93 international students. By spring of 2020, that number dropped and continued to do so into 2021. Concord had 56. However, she is seeing a rise this fall. 

“I don’t have a final count for fall 2021, but it is going to be higher than the spring of 2021,”

Nancy Ellison

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