How COVID-19 is affecting foreign exchange students


Sydney Pieper, Staff Writer

Quarantine has brought new ways of living and has ended many fun events for all grades, but mainly the seniors. By missing Rideout, their last prom, graduation, and so much more, they have nothing else to do but picture the ‘what ifs?’ On top of those seniors who are missing some of the most important times of their lives, the foreign exchange students are forced to leave and experience nothing as well. Seven out of the 11 of those foreign exchange students have been sent back, and four of them are waiting day by day to get the same email.

Livia Covaliov, from the Republic of Moldova, joined the Mustang family on Aug. 15 and was looking forward to experiencing everything that PC and the US had to offer. She was allowed to stay because she couldn’t find a direct flight, but the three others stayed due to their flights being canceled. 

“I’m going to miss the school in itself, and all the fun that it has to offer. I’m going to miss the teachers because the teachers at PC are amazing. And of course, I’m going to miss all my friends. I’m just going to miss everybody, everybody” Covaliov said. 

Because the four remaining exchange students are waiting on the edge of their seats, day after day, they have to live out packed bags. 

“I spend a lot of time in my day scrolling through emails to see if I have to go home. It’s definitely very scary and I am currently still here because my program can’t find a flight that directly takes me home” Covaliov said. 

Covaliov has decided to fill her days doing school work because she feels like she has nothing else to do during the quarantine. She and her host family’s goals are to make the most of every day, so they choose to spend time together– having fun and doing school work to keep their minds busy. She lives every day anxiously, due to the anticipation of the email about having to go home. 

Bia Felix, another exchange student from Brazil, had her flight canceled due to the fact that all bus stations and airports were being closed down in her hometown and anywhere around there as well. Felix’s exchange program had no option but to make her stay in the US for a while longer until they can find a way for her to travel back safely. 

“I think the thing that makes me the saddest is that I’m leaving so early. I’m extremely sad because I always wanted to experience prom, graduation, and watching all the spring sports that I never got to see” Felix said. 

Felix was a part of Forensics, and although she didn’t get to experience the full season, she is still glad to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the club and to have won a trophy early on in one of their tournaments. One of her favorite parts about joining this amazing Mustang family is to have been a part of theatre and getting to know everyone who is a part of the school– our teachers, students and the rest of the staff. 

“I’m more concerned about how long this virus will continue spreading and how many people it can infect, I just hope that everything returns to normal as soon as possible” Felix said. 

Jenni Matikaine, an exchange student from Finland, had to take a flight back a week and a half into the two-week delay. Her organization was trying to look for flights, but because they were so unsure of when they could leave, Matikaine and her parents booked their own flights. She packed up in just a few days and flew from Grand Rapids to Dallas, and then from Dallas to London where she had almost a ten-hour delay. From there, she flew home and the total number of hours traveling was almost a full 24 hours. 

“Everything happened so fast I didn’t even realize that I was leaving until I was sitting on the airplane to go home. My heart breaks to think of all the things I had planned on doing, and they all got canceled. I wish I could’ve said goodbye to all of my friends, I had no idea that would have been the last time I would’ve seen them, it was just an ordinary day” Matikaine said. 

Many of these students have missed very important high school memories, but for those that are seniors, they have missed memories that they will never get the chance to make again.


PC: Pentucket News