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Coming to America, Finally...
Lucy Good

Holiday break, well-awaited after rigorous first semesters, is a time filled with food, celebration, and family. This year, however, celebrating with loved ones may have been challenging or certainly different than normal. Imagine, though, if your family lived on the complete opposite side of the world. This was the situation many of Baylor's Chinese boarders navigated over break. 

Some students, like Mavis Wang ‘23, have not been home since holiday break in 2019. Wang has remained in Chattanooga, dividing time between the Baylor dorms and her host family’s home, and she has attended classes in person, as well. Others like Barry Yang ‘21 and Klaus Li ‘21 spent their first semester back at home in China and used their holiday break as travel time to make their way to Baylor to finish up their senior year in person.

Because of the current travel ban in the United States, those traveling from certain countries, including China, are required to quarantine for at least 14 days in a country not restricted by the U.S. Prior to winter break, both Yang and Li traveled to Dubai, U.A.E. for their quarantine abroad. When entering Dubai, they were required to present negative COVID-19 test results to the border officials and maintain mask-wearing and social distancing. After their quarantine, Yang and Li tested again and flew into the Atlanta International Airport with a layover in Amsterdam, but this time, border control didn’t ask for their test results. Continuing to stay masked, they took the Groome Transportation airport shuttle bus back to Chattanooga, where they were picked up by a Baylor dorm parent. 

Back safely in the U.S., Li traveled to San Francisco to visit friends. He said that “everyone was taking serious precautions” with a county lock down, social distancing, and wearing masks. Back on campus, the dining hall was closed due to the holiday break, and Yang remarked that “figuring out what to cook for the night” was what he did for most of the break. Baylor provided him with gift cards for restaurants and grocery stores and reimbursed all other food purchases, and he was allowed to use the dorm kitchens for preparing and heating food. Once Li returned from California, he mentioned that he often went out on a run to enjoy the campus and also joined Yang in the kitchen making food. 

On Christmas day, the Residential Life Office gifted the boarders on campus presents for the holidays, and before they knew it, second semester was starting up. When reflecting on their international transitions, Li said that it was “easy to adapt,” and Yang ended with, “although it does feel complicated, in a sense, to come back to school in-person at this time of year, it is truly wonderful to see everybody’s faces (and masks) again.” 

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