Culture shock, academic adjustments, language barriers, finances.

Students departing Japan tend to expect such challenges, viewing them as an inevitable speed bump in an otherwise overwhelmingly positive experience. For many, studying abroad — whether for a semester, a year or an entire undergraduate program — is a dream that cannot be abandoned.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, is testing the limits of Japanese students overseas. Thousands have had their programs disrupted (and visa status threatened) by the spread of the novel coronavirus, and many are still struggling with 2020’s fallout.