The Impact of Covid-19 on International Student Support

A Global Perspective


  • Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo American University of Sharjah
  • Brett Perozzi Weber State University
  • Birgit Schreiber Freiburg University
  • Thierry Luescher Human Sciences Research Council and University of the Free State



COVID-19, international students, student affairs services, student support, mobility


The COVID-19 pandemic caused unique challenges to international students. Student Affairs and Services (SAS) across the higher education sector played a key role in supporting students and institutions during the pandemic. This article reports the findings of an exploratory survey with SAS practitioners from around the globe on the ways in which SAS responded to the pandemic and sought to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on students in general and international students specifically. The results demonstrate that international students were among the primary groups of students impacted by the pandemic. Specific challenges identified include mental wellbeing, inability to return home, financial hardships, fear, and uncertainty. Discrimination of certain groups was also noted. SAS intervened to assist international students in navigating these challenges across world regions, including services declared essential for international student support. Finally, financial implications and the future of international student support are explored.

Author Biographies

Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo, American University of Sharjah

Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo, PhD, is the Vice Provost for Student Life at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Lisa teaches graduate classes in management and leadership for Purdue Global University. She is a founding member and secretary-general for the International Association of Student Affairs and Services (IASAS) and was instrumental in creating the Global Summit for Student Affairs and Services in its 6th reiteration. Lisa’s research and writing interests are in international student affairs and services.

Brett Perozzi, Weber State University

Brett Perozzi, PhD, is Vice President for Student Affairs at Weber State University (WSU). He previously served in leadership roles at Arizona State, Indiana, Texas Tech, and Colorado State Universities, in the United States. Brett served as a faculty member in several higher education graduate programs and cofounded the Higher Education Leadership program at WSU. Brett has authored dozens of journal articles, and book chapters and monographs. He has published three books, two on international student affairs and services, and one on student employment during college.

Birgit Schreiber, Freiburg University

Birgit Schreiber, PhD, is a consultant for the higher education sector, has served in senior leadership positions for the past 25 years. She is a member of the Africa Centre for Transregional Research at the Freiburg University, Germany. Birgit has over 50 publications on social justice, student affairs, and higher education policy. She was the founding member and is the editorial executive of the Journal for Student Affairs in Africa.

Thierry Luescher, Human Sciences Research Council and University of the Free State

Thierry M. Luescher, PhD, is a research director in the Human Sciences Research Council and an Associate Professor in Higher Education Studies affiliated to the University of the Free State in South Africa. Thierry is an NRFrated researcher with expertise in the politics of higher education; higher education development in Africa; the student experience and student affairs. Thierry has extensive experience in the editing of journals and books and is a founding editor of the Journal of Student Affairs in Africa.



How to Cite

Bardill Moscaritolo, L., Perozzi, B., Schreiber, B., & Luescher, T. (2021). The Impact of Covid-19 on International Student Support: A Global Perspective. Journal of International Students, 12(2).



Research Articles (English)