As the school year comes to an end, people look forward to spring sports, prom, Del’s, and going to Newport when it is sunny. Like everyone else, the foreign exchange students could not wait to cross these things off their lists. Like everyone else, they were not expecting a global pandemic forcing them to be crossing their country’s border a few days later.
As the school year comes to an end, people look forward to spring sports, prom, Del’s, and going to Newport when it is sunny. Like everyone else, the foreign exchange students could not wait to cross these things off their lists. Like everyone else, they were not expecting a global pandemic forcing them to be crossing their country’s border a few days later. How does it feel realizing that you have given the last hug you will be giving to someone in a long time?
We can all agree on the fact that this situation seemed impossible at the beginning and, even now, it is truly hard to fathom. The more unknown and dangerous the situation is, the greater the precautions you have to take in order to guarantee everyone’s safety. Due to the quick spread of the disease and the global consequences of the pandemic caused by the virus COVID-19, several traveling agencies decided that sending the foreign exchange students back home was the best way to handle the situation. This is why some of us had to go back to our home countries. But this happened on different days and it affected the precautions we took on our way back. On the other hand, the foreign exchange student from Mexico, Christian Castillo, is simply quarantined with his host family and is currently following the rules established by the state of Rhode Island on how to behave during this time.
In order to get some more details about this process and a global perspective of the situation, here is a series of questions answered by the foreign exchange students of Coventry High School:
Interviewer: How did you find out that you were going to go back to your country? Was it your own choice?
Pablo C: My organization contacted my host family and told them that if the students wanted to go back to their home countries they could do it. It was an agreement between me, my family, and my host family.
Carina G: It was not my own choice. I started crying when I found out I had to go back. It was horrible for me. I had a perfect life in the US. I made new friends and had a great family.
I didn’t want to lose anybody and I couldn’t even say goodbye to everyone. But right now I feel like it was right that I’m back home and can be with my family at this time.
Interviewer: Did you take any precautions when you first saw your family? If so, what were they?
Pablo C: The first time that I saw them I was wearing a mask, but since none of us show any symptoms we hugged after a few minutes. Then we all were quarantined for two weeks.
Carina G: Not really, the only one was when I walked into my house I had to change into other clothes because you can get infected from clothes too. I wasn’t allowed to walk more than 5 feet into my house with the clothes I went on a plane.
Interviewer: What is the situation like in your city/country?
Pablo C: Right now it is getting better but it is still pretty bad, many people are dying every day.
Carina G: It doesn’t really look like we are on lockdown because everybody is outside and is doing stuff.
Christian C: It’s not too bad like it is in America or Italy, and my city only has 10 cases so far.
Interviewer: If you could say one more thing to everyone in CHS, what would it be?
Pablo C: I would say thank you for the way in which they treated me all along the way. This ain’t goodbye.
Carina G: It would be thank you. Because a lot of people made my day, a lot of people helped me through. And I really appreciate it that I made a lot of new friends and everyone was nice to me.
Christian C: Thank you all for giving me an awesome year.
Interviewer: At the beginning of the year I asked you what you missed most about your country. Now that you are back, what do you miss most about the US?
Pablo C: My friends whom I really became close to and all the cool activities that high school has like spirit week or varsity review
Carina G: My friends and my family. The freedom I kind of had from my host family. My dogs and my kitten which is already so big and I miss him so much. And stuff like Coffee milk, Doritos. That all my friends have their licenses and car. Life in the US is a lot different than life here back in Germany.
Christian C: I am not back but I think that what I am going to miss the most are my family and my friends.
Personally, I had to wear a mask around my house until two weeks had passed and I was only allowed to take it off in my room. It is kind of hard not giving your family a big hug after seven months without seeing them, but I am certain that we all feel like the people that were in our lives in the US are our family too, and we did not get the chance to say bye to most of them either. It cannot be put into words how much we appreciate the community that this high school has allowed us to be a part of, and how much we wish we could still be there, trying to give back to it as a way to say thank you.
Luckily, our last week at CHS was Spirit Week. It is great to think about all the memories we did get the chance to make. Getting our time in the US cut short truly makes us appreciate all the things we did and helps put things into perspective. So, once again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
And remember, since you never know, try to hug everyone like it is the last time you will see them in a while.