International students return to Tallahassee

Students from St Maarten who attend FAMU, FSU and TCC.
Photo curtsey of the Sint Maarten-Tallahassee Student Association (SMTSA)

After a year of doing classes online at home on Zoom, students from all over the world have returned to Tallahassee. Some said they are thrilled to be back on campus among their peers.

During the past school year, students had to adapt to online learning and distancing themselves from their classmates. Some said that digital learning changed a student’s  expectations for their time at FAMU.

International students from the island of Sint Maarten said that  being away from the campus had affected their experience at FAMU, and gave insights on how they plan to utilize their in-person experience to the best of their abilities.

Terrelle Thomas, a third-year computer information system major, transferred to FAMU from TCC during the COVID pandemic. This is his first semester ever being on campus.

“I am very happy to be back in school,” Thomas said. “Even though being online had its benefits, I miss the socialization.”

Students said they are happy to get out of their homes or their bedrooms and be back to the classroom.

Kishana Arrindell, a third-year psychology major, was skeptical about coming back to classes in person, so she opted for partial online and in-person classes.

“I was scared about having to go back to classes in person, because the number of COVID cases in Florida have increased tremendously,” Arrindell said. “I don’t think we were ready as a community to open up face-to-face because of how many cases they are, and how it’s rising.”

Some students are even afraid of fully transitioning back to in-person classes, as they have already adapted their learning skills to online during the days spent at home working.

Sheldon Wilson, a fourth-year physical therapy major, is now in his final year at FAMU. He spent his junior year back in his home country, Sint Maarten, and had to complete his fall semester at home.

“When we first had to go on Zoom, it was sort of a learning curve and to understand how we are about to go about things,” Wilson said. “Eventually things started to get better because now professors had a strategy when it comes to teaching online, and eventually my grades started to get better. Now that we are back in person, they will have to re-adjust and find new strategies once again to help us succeed.”

International students compared their experiences learning online to now having to return and learn in person, and they still have mixed feelings about returning.

Some said they  had difficulty going back to their hometown during the pandemic, and they still pushed through and succeeded, even though it may have been online.

Now back on campus, these students said they are going to continue on the path of success, and finish their in-person semester gracefully.