Chinese student forced to spend $20,000 to fly back to Sydney


A Chinese international student says she was forced to shell out $20,000 in order to make it back to university in time thanks to Australia's coronavirus travel ban.

Karen Ji, a law and commerce student at the University of Sydney, had been abroad when the government issued a ban on travellers coming in from mainland China last month.  

Ms Ji, along with thousands of other international students, was forced to choose between missing the start of the semester or flying to a third country in order to get back to Australia.  

The university student said she felt 'betrayed' by the government after she had to buy 'five tickets' just to travel back to Sydney.  

'International students, we feel very angry about it. We feel like it's a betrayal to our international students,' she said.

'I bought such an expensive ticket in order to come back, but the flight [was] cancelled so I felt very angry and panicked.' 

Ms Ji and her mother decided to fly to Bangkok, where they had to spend 16 days in quarantine before being able to travel to Australia. 

'I [had] already booked five tickets in economy and even first class in order to fly into Sydney,' she said.  

'I still feel very tired because it took me so many days and cost me so much to come back again.' 

Australia's travel ban on Chinese visitors and students was expected to have a major impact as Chinese students are reported to bring $40billion a year into the Australian economy.  

Universities across the country have even begun offering financial aid to help students get around the travel ban.

Last month, the University of Melbourne announced it would give students who have been affected by the virus and its 'associated travel restrictions' support packages of up to $7,500. 

Western Sydney University also said it was willing to subside the cost of airfares and accommodation to allow them to reach Australia 'through a third country'. 

'We consider the Australian Government's endorsement of entering Australia through a third country an important development, opening up the opportunity to arrive in time to commence study in Australia,' an email from the university said.

The University of Adelaide later announced it would offer a care package worth about $5,000 to about 3,000 Chinese students.

The package includes a 20 per cent discount on semester one tuition fees and up to $2000 towards airfares which they can access only once the travel ban is lifted. 

It also offered online study help including videos of lectures, peer networking support and library resources so Chinese students who cannot be on campus by the March 26 start date, so can keep up with their courses remotely.  

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk

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