What it’s like to be stuck in a foreign country during the Coronavirus pandemic


Mel Foody

Many students across the U.S. who have travelled during spring break are now stranded in another country due to the Coronavirus pandemic

Stefano Ausenda, Contributing Editor

Whether students choose to travel to the sun-kissed coasts of southern Florida or the Caribbean, go back to their hometown to visit family and friends or just stay on campus to work, spring break gives them a well-deserved break from the daily chaos that college life can bring. But what happens when their vacation lasts quite a bit longer than expected?

For my final spring break as a Pace student, I decided to travel to my family’s house in the Bahamas. Boating, exploring and just escaping from the New York weather for a while, I was glad that I decided to go despite the increasingly serious threat of the Coronavirus.

I made these arrangements two weeks in advance: arrive on Sunday March 15, stay for six days and then return to New York on Sunday the 22… until I got an email on Tuesday, March 10 from university administration telling students that classes will be held online until Monday March 30, two weeks after spring break. I found this notice to be the perfect opportunity to extend my stay just a little bit and return to New York on March 27.

As the days progressed, it became increasingly more apparent that I would most likely not get back on the 27 either, and even if I did get back to the U.S., I might not be able to move out of my dorm due to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s PAUSE executive order, which requires “all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office functions,” as of Sunday, March 22 at 8 p.m.

As a result of this order as well as to ensure the safety of all of its students, Pace University’s Office of Residential Life & Housing halted its move out process on both its campuses, with very limited exceptions.

The day before that, the island where I’m staying in the Bahamas, Mangrove Cay, announced that it will shut down its airport from Sunday, March 22 until Wednesday, April 1. So now, I’m in a foreign country not sure when or even if I will get back to the states or to my home in Bermuda, and I’m in my last semester of university without having said a proper goodbye to any of my friends on campus. So how am I coping?

One thing that really helps is that I’m not alone, I’m here with my family, and I’m very thankful for that. I honestly do not know what I would do if I were stuck here alone. Another thing is that the effects of the virus have not only affected me, but have affected the vast majority of the world’s population in some way and many, many people have been affected by it much more than I am. The final thing that has helped is knowing that all of these measures being put in place and enforced; the PAUSE order, certain travel restrictions, social distancing, etc., are there to keep everyone safe and to prevent this disease from spreading even more and infecting even more people.

Being stuck here in the Bahamas amidst the Coronavirus pandemic is not ideal, but I have learned to make the most out of unpredictable circumstances. A lot of the times, that is what life is, learning to make the most out of unpredictable. circumstances. Once this pandemic is defeated, I know that we will all grow stronger as human beings and have an entire new appreciation for our lives and the world around us.