Living far from family after so many years

Ziv Galpaz

Family is the bond that connects us all. If it be through blood or friendship, However for many international students visiting family has become increasingly difficult. For many Branham students, visiting family has been put on hold since the beginning of the pandemic. 


According to the US travel agency, six out of ten Americans are expected to travel internationally this summer which is a percent higher than pre-COVID summer of 2019. In 2022 there was a 52% decrease in international entries into the US compared to 2021. In 2019, nearly 80 million foreigners entered the United States in comparison to the last few years which did not total to nearly that magnitude. 


Junior Justine Dreux was born in France and moved to the United States at age 6. Since moving to the US, she has been back France every year until the start of the pandemic. Since then, she has not visited her whole family who resides in her home country. 


“Pre-COVID, I would complain to my parents about having to go to France every summer because I wanted to spend the summer with my friends,” Dreux said. “But now, it’s all I could wish for.”


She also mentioned that one of the hardest aspects of being away is not just missing family, but missing the culture she grew up with. 


“I don’t know how to explain it,” Dreux said. “I miss the French chitchat, the sounds and smells of the culture. I found a newfound appreciation for my country,”


With COVID19 cases dropping and mask mandates lifting, an increasing amount of people are revisiting the ability for international travel. For many, they are finally getting the opportunity to visit their family after years of only communicating via phone or messaging.


For foreign students such as George Argiris, not being able to see his family took on a toll on his relationship with them. 


Arigiris said that in order to visit Australia, you need to hold a citizenship. Even today, he has not been able to see them in four years which has taken a toll on his family.  


As the threat of COVID19 is cooling off and seeing lessened travel restrictions, the war in Ukraine is reintroducing those limitations.


Prior to the pandemic, freshman Eadan Caulfield would visit Ireland every summer and has cited the war in Ukraine as a reason her family’s ability to travel is cut off, as the current political climate in Europe is unpredictable.


Caulfield mentioned that after not being able to see family for so long, she is starting to lose her relationship with her family abroad, which saddens her. 




It’s the little moments that make it especially difficult. 


“I miss my grandma’s apple pie,” Caulfield said. “The way she makes it in Ireland is different than any way that it could be made here.”