bruce white
Dual-degree architecture student Bruce White in China.

The urgent needs of University of Hawaiʻi students across the state are growing with the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why the UH Foundation set up the Urgent Student Relief Fund.

UH Mānoa architecture student Bruce White, who had been studying in China, took a “major financial hit.” Here is his story in his own words:

I was studying in China as part of the global track program offered through the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s School of Architecture. It is a dual-degree master’s and doctorate program in architecture where students spend time between Hawaiʻi and China.

I left Shanghai at winter break (mid-January), and thought I would be gone just a couple of weeks and return to complete the school year. But the coronavirus broke out and all flights between the U.S. and China were canceled. I had a lease in Shanghai. All my stuff is there. I’ve paid rent but, along with my classmates, my student visa has expired (end of March) and I can’t go back, and legally can no longer rent the apartment.

I have lost most of my belongings and the deposit and rent money that I can’t get back. I feel dislocated, staying on couches, very transient and with a lot of stress. There is no clarity around when I can return to China to complete my degree (so I don’t know if I should look for a place here). Only one student in my cohort has been able to get re-established here. There are 10 of us from Hawaiʻi (one is still in China). My master’s thesis, my doctoral dissertation are all still due. I am taking a major financial hit.

This very unique dual-degree program brought me to UH Mānoa from the mainland. I have an undergraduate degree in Chinese and very much wanted to study architecture in China, so this program at UH Mānoa was everything I dreamed of. I want to complete this program, get licensed and work as an architect both here in Hawaiʻi and in China.

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