Aasthika+Das%2C+an+incoming+UI+sophomore+and+biology+major%2C+poses+for+a+portrait+through+a+zoom+call+on+Sunday%2C+July+12%2C+2020+from+her+home+in+India.+

Hannah Kinson

Aasthika Das, an incoming UI sophomore and biology major, poses for a portrait through a zoom call on Sunday, July 12, 2020 from her home in India.

“I have the faith that the entire country as a whole will be able to make the right decision, and not just some people who sit in the government.” -Aasthika Das

Aasthika Das, an incoming UI sophomore and biology major, poses for a portrait through a zoom call on Sunday, July 12, 2020 from her home in India. (Hannah Kinson)

Aasthika Das, a sophomore studying biology at the UI, said she was initially planning to spend the break between Thanksgiving and the spring semester at home with her family in India, as the break for online classes would allow her time to visit.

Although she was planning to leave the U.S at the end of in-person classes, Das said the announcement was a “bit of a shock.”

“Initially it was my choice to come back home, and now it’s like you kind of have to go back home,” Das said.

While there is some uncertainty as to if Das will be able to reenter the U.S. for the spring with travel restrictions, she feels her international student support advisors will be able to help her, or in the worst case, she will continue to take classes all online.

Das said the decision didn’t change how welcome she feels in Iowa City.

“The way I see it, I don’t have a direct connection to ICE or the U.S. government. The only people I have a direct connection to in America is the American students around me,” she said. “They’ve always made me feel very welcome, and they’re such lovely people, all my professors and the friends I’ve made so far.”

Das said the lawsuit that Harvard and MIT filed challenging ICE’s ruling made her feel like there was support for international students across the U.S.

“I see that the people who are my age who are like me in the U.S., they do want to take a stance. It’s not like they’re not welcoming to other people,” she said. “I have the faith that the entire country as a whole will be able to make the right decision, and not just some people who sit in the government.”

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