Earlier this month Goldsmiths announced it was suspending all face-to-face teaching immediately and like many universities, it has a significant international student population.

Goldsmiths has asked all students to leave their student accommodation and return to their family homes. But for some, this is not possible.

Due to border closures and flight cancellations, many international students are stuck, with no way to get back to their families abroad.

Ibrahim, an international student from Jordan said: "My country has closed its border... I'm worried because I cannot work now. I don't know how to secure my rent in the accommodation for the next months.”

Stuck on a campus which has been shut down, advised to stay inside emptier and emptier student flats, many of the international students are left isolated and with little news about the future of their studies or how to get home.

Lessons are resuming online however, for those students on practical courses like art and journalism, there is little they can do in terms of work but wait for news.

One international student from Italy said: “There was one flight running every day, from Heathrow to Rome to get students back that have been tested negative.

“This was only done through the embassy. My family don’t feel safe for me to be here. It makes me feel worried, I would have gone back but I’m working… I want all this to be over, it’s very distressing.”

There are worries about whether those students who leave the UK will be able to return but the university has still encouraged students to leave the UK and return to their home countries.

There has been a rise in racist behaviour towards Chinese students, with one student told to “f*** off, Chinese Virus”.

Hongyu Yu, a student from China said: "a lot of my friends told me they have experienced racism recently. I would say the numbers have increased after the virus. We can report racist behaviour to the university if we are under threat."

She plans to go home but said many "flights have been cancelled and the ticket prices have risen significantly. It is a tough decision"

Social Entrepreneurship students at the university have created and are promoting an online group called RECIPROCATE where students can teach each other skills and offer advice. The students running the group said: "In reaction to Covid-19 and the resulting enforced isolation, we wish to create a platform of exchange where passion and skills can be offered...bringing back a sense of community"

The group currently has almost 500 members and is an example of how students are using social media to connect with other students and avoid loneliness during the shutdown the UK is currently experiencing.

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths, University of London said:   

“Following the latest government advice we are urgently working to put in place the right measures to support our students and staff through this unprecedented situation. In the coming weeks and months we will focus all our energies on safeguarding the wellbeing of our community and ensuring our students achieve their learning outcomes. 

“Goldsmiths remains operational so that we can continue to provide essential services to our students, including the many who call Goldsmiths home and are unable to leave. Enhanced public health and hygiene measures across campus will ensure that these students can continue to use our core facilities safely.  

“We are asking all students intending to stay in halls who have not yet contacted us to email studentcentre@gold.ac.uk so that our student support teams, who are still on campus and working 24/7 to support our remaining students, can get in touch and discuss their needs.”