Students with family abroad rejoice over vaccine news and decreasing cases2 min read

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As the pandemic shut down most travel for months, students could not see their family members that live abroad. But as COVID-19 cases decrease and vaccines are distributed, these students are hoping to see their family again.

Students have tried to work around the distance with technology, but many felt it was not the same as in-person visits.

“Similarly to many other immigrant families I know, we had dissolved any plans for visiting our family abroad,” said Hana Phiwreungnon, 19, environmental science major. “My mother checks in more frequently on my grandmother through FaceTime, but it’s difficult when you constantly feel insecurity about someone’s safety from far away.”

Now that the vaccine is widely distributed, 18-year-old computer science major Meigan Liu said she is excited to see her family again.

“The news of the vaccine has really made me hopeful for the future,” Liu said. “My mom and I are already thinking of going to visit my relatives in Vietnam next summer when we’re sure that COVID is no longer a big risk.”

Other students have already gotten to reunite with their loved ones from abroad. Neda Ammari, a 19-year-old business administration major, was recently visited by her family from Libya after cancelling their travel plans when the pandemic first struck.

“We recently finished the month of Ramadan and it felt so good because they came in the best month of the year,” Ammari said. “It was very nice to have the whole family united in a special month.”

Phiwreungnon said she looks forward to attending events with her family after the pandemic forced many events to shut down.

“After over a year of social distancing and struggling to navigate a world that feels wholly unfamiliar, it’s exciting seeing everything slowly open back up again,” Phiwreungnon said. “I’ve missed out on birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and so much more. I’m anticipating being able to make up for that.”

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