The New Normal for Rockhurst International Students

Spencer Moes

The coronavirus has had a heavy impact on the students of Rockhurst University. It has become everyday normalities difficult for everyone and some more so than others.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus across the United States led to Rockhurst University onMarch 16 to announce that all classes would be moved online for the remainder of the semester, though courses will still continue remotely. The decision to close campus has saddened manystudents, with others finding at least some happiness knowing they can move home to their friends and families.

But that’s not the case for everyone.

International students that were not able to fly home during spring break and remain stuck at Rockhurst. So, what will happen with them? After talking with Charlton Offermans, a junior from Townsville, Australia, he was told that the internationals would be moved to the THV’s so they are able to live comfortably.

Offermans is unable to make it home to Australia because of flight cancellations and new measures put in place by the Australian government.

“My family is very nervous for me and wanted me to make it back home as quickly as I could,” he said.

Offermans said he had booked multiple trips back home but they kept getting cancelled.

One of his cousins who lives in Utah was able to make it back home to Australia, but he flew out afew days earlier than Offermans could book his own travel.

“I do not remember the last time Australia shut down like this, it has never happened before,” he told the Sentinel.

Offermans plans to stay at Rockhurst in the THV’s with the rest of the other international students until either the virus clears up, or until he is able to take a flight back home to Australia to get back with his family.

Another international student experiencing similar events is Kevin Troung from France. As a first year student, he said he is not as familiar with the United States as much as some of the older students. This can be scary or nerve-wracking to stay in a place you are not used to, especially to be secluded in a place due to social distancing.

Troung spoke to the Sentinel by phone on March 16 when the news came out that the rest of the semester would be remote, and after he learned France had closed its border.

“I have not had much connection in talking with my parents,” he said. “I am friends with some of the international students so I do not think it will be as bad as I think.”

When asked what he will do with his free time now that he will stay at Rockhurst for the semester, Troung said, “I want to be able to work out on my own to stay in shape and watch movies.”

Because Troung is on the basketball team, he is used to the campus being a little desolate.

“I was alone over fall and Christmas break, so it will just be like another break, but just a bit longer. So I am a bit used to being alone on a campus. I am excited to see my friends and teammates for the final time this weekend before they all leave,” he added.

Stay tuned and stay healthy, RU.