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COVID-19 filled me with fear — until I went home to China

COVID-19 filled me with fear — until I went home to China

COVID-19 left me in limbo in the United States, full of fear and anger. Then I returned home to China to face criticism before reuniting with my family. An empty John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (All photos by Jasmine Li) So this is where I am going...

The coronavirus pandemic has put strains on students, their families, schools, entire communities. But Jasmine Li, a Chinese student at Westover School in the United States, provides a first-person account of the special difficulties facing foreign nationals caught in limbo as COVID-19 triggered global travel restrictions. Li cannot return to her temporary home at school, and when she finally makes it home to China, she discovers some compatriots consider her a traitor and urge her to leave. Adolescence can be a difficult period of self-discovery, but Li’s painful experiences are the product of a globalized world that, in normal circumstances, offers extraordinary opportunities but which, during a pandemic, sees forgotten borders re-emerge. Ask each student to describe their most difficult moment during the pandemic. How do their experiences compare?

Author: Jasmine Li