I woke up on Friday, November 26, to a message from my dad asking if I had seen the news about the new COVID-19 variant in South Africa. Immediately after reading the message, I looked at the news and saw that the UK had added six southern African countries to its dreaded red list.
My response was an overwhelming feeling that I would not be able to go home. Later that day my intuition was confirmed. The US placed a travel ban on everyone traveling to the US from eight southern African countries. My heart sank after reading through the list of exemptions and not seeing the category I belong to – international students on an F-1 visa. There were exceptions for citizens, permanent residents, and some other select groups, just not students. A wave of uncertainty and anxiety ripped through me.
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