University of Manitoba international students who remain on campus are feeling the crunch as the school's residence move-out date nears and Canada’s borders remain closed.

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University of Manitoba international students who remain on campus are feeling the crunch as the school's residence move-out date nears and Canada’s borders remain closed.

The U of M will require international students who have not yet been able to return home to leave its residence facilities by April 30; they are expected to move out within 48 hours of their last assignments. Domestic residents had been asked to move by March 25.

While most have since left the country and are finishing the term online, some remain on campus.

Ishaanee Didwania is an international student from Oman studying criminology, and acts as a residence adviser. She was also in the same position for a time, but was able to find a roommate off-campus.

"I know the other students are all looking for places to move out because living on campus is so isolating right now, we’re all just in our tiny dorm rooms," she said.

In a statement Tuesday, the University of Manitoba Students’ Union said those with a need to stay longer than April 30 can apply for an extension online.

"Right now, there is a process in place for people to apply for an extended stay, and I would recommend that those who wish to attempt that option first," UMSU president Jakob Sanderson told the Free Press.

"If that’s unsuccessful, I would welcome them to come to us and we’ll do everything we can for them."

U of M student residences director Barry Stone said the school is "in the process of responding to all of our extension requests and some additional spaces will be made available for both short and long term."

"Some need a few extra days, and others are asking to stay for the entire summer. Given this, we are going to attempt to support as many of these students by being as flexible as possible in terms of occupancy after April 30," Stone told the Free Press in an email Tuesday.

"Ultimately, we are attempting to balance student support and the need to mitigate the numbers of students in a community living environment-like residence — where social distancing and isolation requirements can be very challenging."

In the meantime, impacted students wait for the final word.

"I can sum the whole thing up with the word ‘uncertainty,’" said Melika Zamani, a second-year international student from Iran who is studying business. "Because nothing is for sure.

"Since the classes moved online, I really wanted to go back home and study there, but the borders are closed so I can not go back home for at least a month," she said.

"I haven’t found a place yet because the places are either the rent is high, or it requires you to go see the place and because of the coronavirus situation, it’s not possible."

malak.abas@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: malakabas_

Malak Abas

Malak Abas
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Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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