A school year cut short

Hays exchange students depart due to pandemic

Exchange students Rosa Boesch (Germany), Maria Mendaza (Spain), with Nation reporter Andrea Delgado (2nd from right), and Ana Antonioli (Spain). Nation staffer Jaenneke Waenink (Netherlands) also had to return to her home country.

Every year Hays gets a new group of foreign exchange students. This year the students’ stay was cut short by the coronavirus. Students from all over were either forced or had an option to stay with their host families in quarantine or go back to their own homes.

Maria Mendaza, one of the many junior foreign exchange students said, “I went home because I’d rather be stuck inside my own home with my family during quarantine.”

Maria’s organization required her parents and her host family to approve if she wanted to stay but most families want their kids back at home during this epidemic, although at the time the virus was even worse in Spain.

Maria had to fly back to Madrid and be allowed by the police to go back home. Even the kids that chose to stay have problems.

Ana Antonioli, one of the few exchange students that had the opportunity to stay, said, “I wanted to stay just in case things got better. I was really looking forward to prom because they don’t have that in Brazil.”

Although some have stayed they have mentioned that it’s hard being in isolation with a family they met this year. The exchange students did not get to live out the year they wanted.