1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
COVID-19 was detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and spread rapidly as it did severely affected all countries and territories across the world. At the time of carrying out this study, over 6 million COVID-19 cases, with more than 1,000000 deaths have been reported worldwide (Johns Hopkins University, 2020; WHO (2020). These statistics were incredibly staggering and made the pandemic a defining global health crisis of the recent time. Health experts indicate that the disease does not discriminate against people irrespective of age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, class, or other social markers (WHO, 2020). However, older adults, low-income families, indigenous people, and people with underlying chronic or immune diseases are considered more vulnerable to this pandemic (WHO, 2020). One group of people who are missing from the vulnerable groups list is international students, who were also harshly impacted by the disease socially and economically by virtue of their immigration status. To mitigate the spread of the virus, public policy response has rightly focused on medical intervention, creation of vaccines (WHO, 2020), and emergency legislation (‘social distancing, lockdowns, and border closures) to stop the spread of the virus. Following the government’s directives, universities also shut down their campuses to address the current health crisis.
To alleviate the social and economic costs of the pandemic, many countries shown compassion by providing emergency social and financial relief to most vulnerable individuals. Several studies have confirmed that international students, especially those from developing countries, experienced challenging life circumstances, including financial crises, in their study destinations (e.g. Choudaha, 2017; McGill, 2013; Varghese, 2008). Thus, measures like lockdowns and campus shutdowns were more unfair with international students as the students were on the severe state of anxiety as many of them will did experienced social and psychological distress, including (1) emotional distress, (2) impaired sense of personal self-worth, (3) loss of interpersonal contacts, and (4) impaired task (academic) performance (Miller, 2011; Regehr, 2011). Hence this study is focused on examining how the Covid-19 lockdown affected international students.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the substantial measures taken by countries such as the Covid-19 lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus are having both direct and indirect impacts on international students. The abrupt downturn in economic activity has had a significant impact across many sectors, with international students facing the loss of their part time jobs or reduced or lost incomes, which could have an impact on their ability to continue their studies.
In the view of Miller & Regehr, (2020), the Covid-19 Lockdown and campus closures were particularly unjust to foreign students, as they were still in a state of social and psychological trauma among others.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main aim of this study is to examine the effect of Covid-19 lockdown on international students. Therefore, other relevant objectives include;
- Examine the nature of Covid-19 lockdown effect on international students.
- Investigate the effect Covid-19 lockdown on the academic activities of international students.
- Investigate if international students suffered social and psychological trauma as a result of Covid-19 lockdown.
1.4 RESEARCHER QUESTIONS
- What is the nature of Covid-19 lockdown effect on international students?
- What is effect Covid-19 lockdown on the academic activities of international students?
- Did international students suffer social and psychological trauma as a result of Covid-19 lockdown?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will enlighten the Government, lecturers, students and the general public on the subject under study as the study will reveals the harm done to international students by the drastic decision and implementation of lockdown as a tool for containing the spread of Covid-19. and many more. Researchers will also find this study useful based on their area or focus of interest.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study on the effect of Covid-19 lockdown on international students covers only international students of Covenant university Ogun State, Nigeria.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
It will be a non-challenge to state here clearly that the major constraints to this research study are the financial constraints, limited time due to academic calendar. It is with notice that due to the above constraints the research could not cover the area of interest and call for optimum support in the future research.
1.8. DEFINITION OF TERMS
Covid-19: This is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.
Pandemic: This is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people.
Lockdown: A lockdown can be defined as an emergency protocol implemented by the authorities that prevents people from leaving a given area. A full lockdown will mean that the people in the given area must stay where they are and must not exit or enter a building or given area.
International Student: According to the OECD are “those who received their prior education in another country and are not residents of their current country of study.