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However, among all the scenarios Invercargill resident Adriana Ricon could think of, the idea of a Covid-19 outbreak and a country’s lockdown was never in her mind.
Mrs Ricon said the past few weeks have been "hard to cope with".
Away from part of her family, she had already started self-isolation as a preventive measure — before the official lockdown.
It has been emotional.
"I can say ... I’m having two lives. I can’t sleep much because I wake up to check the news if everyone is all right back home but also need to look after my family here."
Mrs Ricon considered herself lucky as her parents were in New Zealand to visit her, so she, her husband, her son and her parents are safe at her home in Invercargill.
"I feel very blessed to have them here. They were planning to return to Colombia in June, but at least, until everything is sorted, we take care of each other. We will do everything possible to help the community in these hard times."
Danish exchange student Caroline Berg was also facing stressful days.
She has been living in New Zealand for eight months, but now she just wants to go back to her family.
"Don't get me wrong — coming to New Zealand was the best decision I ever made. I really appreciate the support from my host family and everything I learnt here. But with this problem of Covid-19, I really want to be with my family."
She has been checking daily airline websites but as all Europe is on lockdown, it has been hard.
"I have never been away for so long ...
‘‘The uncertainty is really hard to cope with. I've been having trouble sleeping and feel quite anxious."
However, she said she is trying to take the best of the situation.
When she lands in Denmark, she only wants one thing: "I really just want to look at my family and know they are good."
Brazilian-born Bruna Hott said the Latin American community was quite strong, as well.
They have a WhatsApp group where they communicate and check each other daily to make sure everyone is assisted.
Mrs Hott said, a week ago, a Brazilian man arrived in Invercargill to study at Southern Institute of Technology.
He was in self-isolation but nobody knew who he was.
"The whole community started to ask around and we found him. Since then, we have been buying and dropping him some groceries."