HCM CITY – Students returning to HCM City as colleges reopen after a prolonged hiatus are facing a major hurdle even before classes begin: finding a place to stay.
Many people had begun gathering outside zones A and B of the National University dormitory as early as 5am, though the opening time was 7:30AM.
Nguyễn Trọng Dân, 49, decided to accompany his son, a new student at the University of Science and Technology, as the latter travelled to check in at the university dormitory in HCM City.
They had left home at 6PM the previous day and arrived at the dormitory around 4AM.
Although Dân’s son “has acquired a name for himself” by gaining admission to a university in HCM City, like many other freshmen, it was the first time he was setting foot in HCM City after months of distance learning from home.
“I am very concerned about the pandemic, so I did not dare to let my son go alone though he said he would go by himself. I decided to follow as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Dân said.
Bảo Trân, 18 years old, a freshman at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, told the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that she had travelled to HCM City with her father from Long Xuyên District in An Giang Province to start a “real student life.”
Online learning has its own charm, Trân said, but felt it would be quite difficult to absorb all the knowledge needed from home.
“I was quite nervous participating in offline classes. After settling down, I will go there to know more about HCM City and gain more student experiences,” Trân added.
Lan Chi, a second-year student at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, was excited to be back in the city from Đồng Nai Province with a place in a dorm.
“The days at home were challenging as my parents were strict and teachers gave too much homework, believing that online learning is easy,” she said.
Lại Thế Tuân, who manages the HCM City National University’s dormitory, said they were prepared to check in 4,500 students on February 13.
In order to avoid large crowds and speed up administrative procedures, the dormitory has opened eight gates, three in zone A and five in zone B, instead of just the main gate, he said.
The dormitory requires students to comply with the Health Ministry’s 5K regulations and always leave their room with their face masks on, Tuân said, adding that temporary fences with soft nets have been set up to divide the two main zones into eight separate areas to facilitate epidemic prevention and control.
After all the students have settled down, they might be removed, he said.
Thanh Thuý, who went back to her hometown Đắk Nông in the Central Highlands during the lockdown, said that she had been trying to find a place to stay in HCM City for over a month.
Though schools have not officially started, many places have received deposits in advance, making Thuý’s return to HCM City a difficult one.
“I thought if I searched for rooms early, I would be able to secure an affordable and beautiful place. Who would expect to experience something such as room scarcity at such early stages?
“A friend that I used to live with has already come back to HCM City. As she has not been able to find a place for both of us, she is temporarily staying with her cousin. I am quite worried about the days to come,” Thúy added.
Tú Anh, a third year student at the HCM City University of Education, said that she was more concerned about her school schedule, which might be changed because of pandemic complications.
“I think I have the experience to find a place to live. I usually opt for places with high security and flexible hours. That said, if the school, for some reason, decides to extend online learning periods, I would be in trouble if I have to cancel rental contract,” she said.
Tú Anh added that one of her friends could not go home during the lockdown because she had paid six months of her rent in advance and also found that the trouble of packing to return home was not worth it. – VnExpress News
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