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Not all students could go home

Gale Rose
Pratt Community College sophomore Enayy Kurbanova of Turkmenistan is a graphic design and art major at PCC. She, like the rest of the student body at PCC, is finishing the rest of her semester entirely online because of the COVID-19 crisis. Kurbanova cannot return home at this time because of expense and travel restrictions and, for the time being, is one of three students living in a residence hall in Pratt.

When the Pratt Community College students went back to classes March 30 after an extended spring break because of COVID-19, they all went back to class online only.

The PCC students were required to move out of the residence halls. Most went home or are staying with family or friends.

But for three international students, two from Turkmenistan and one from Mexico, going home was not an option. For the time being, the students are living in one residence hall on the PCC campus.

For Enayy Kurbanova, sophomore from Turkmenistan, there is no way she can go home because of COVID-19.

Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia. It is bordered on the west by the Caspian Sea, on the south by Iran and Afghanistan, on the east and north by Uzbekistan and also on the north by Kazakhstan.

Kurbanova is a graphic design and art major and like all other students at PCC is taking her classes online. Students are having some trouble settling in to this new method of teaching. There were so many students taking online courses, there were Internet issues getting connected to the proper programs. Kurbanova worked with her advisor and instructors to get connected to necessary programs. These are heavy software programs and some students computers its hard for them to work from home, Kurbanova said.

The program Kurbanova and other students are working with allows then to see instructors face-to-face and see what they need to do for class.

The staff and IT department are working to make situation better. Other than the Internet being slow, everything else should be good, Kurbanova said.

Living in the residence hall in an empty campus is actually working out pretty good for Kurbanova. She and the two other students live in the same residence hall. Kurbanova said they feel very safe with campus security always around and their residence hall parent is also there. She worked in the PCC cafeteria and made lots of friends. They would give her a lift if she needed to go some where. Kurbanova said she enjoys being active and will walk or run to Walmart if she needs something. She will also order from Pizza Hut.

Outside of her classwork, Kurbanova said she is enjoying her time on campus and in the residence hall. She said she is not bored.

“I’m happy about the isolation thing. There’s plenty of time to relax. We don’t have to hurry anywhere anymore,” Kurbanova said. “I have time to relax and get inspiration. Painting and drawing takes a lot of time and patience. I experiment a lot of time on my art. I just work on my work.”

Now she has time for her art, meditation and cooking. They are allowed to cook in the rooms and have been trying a lot of international dishes including ones with fish and shrimp.

When students say there’s nothing to do in Pratt, Kurbanova doesn’t get that. Students should share ideas about things to do or talk with their staff. She had an idea for a project and the instructors used it.

“They took my idea,” Kurbanova said. “That makes me feel appreciated. They (instructors) care about your ideas and they care about you.”

Another benefit for Kurbanova is the extra time she can use to summer internships.

Kurbanova said she doesn’t know exactly what her life work will be. She doesn’t like planning a lot but likes to be spontaneous. Some days she just wants to do art, other days she wants to teach art to children.

“I’m not completely sure what I’m going to do. It will have something to do with art,” Kurbanova said.

Kurbanova has painted murals in the PCC library and in faculty offices. She likes the freedom in the United States and it inspires her.

Although Kurbanova has not seen her parents for almost two years, its just not possible for her to go home as it is too expensive, about $2,000. When she came to America, she had find scholarship money, money for a plane ticket and convince her father to let her come because she is the only girl in the family. She has four brothers.

Turkmenistan has a large desert area and the temperature is hotter then in Kansas. Kurbanova said she likes the temperature here but doesn’t care for the wind. She also likes the variety of weather where it can rain then snow. She likes the spontaneous nature of the weather.