Foreign Student Shenanigans

Foreign+Student+Shenanigans

Written by Gianna Costanza, Gretchen Nagle, and Maddie Shea

All across the country people are wearing masks and maintaining social distance in an effort to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. In the U.S. a large number of schools have switched to distance learning to prevent transmission in the classroom. The entire world is grappling with the effects of Covid-19 in their day to day life. Students in other countries have had to adapt to these new circumstances both in the classroom as well as at home.

In Europe, schools began closing around the same time as American schools. “When Covid started to spread in Italy, my school shut down for a couple days and then the mayor slowly started to shut it down for more time. Eventually all the schools across the country were shut down,” says Anna Peters, an American student currently studying in Italy. Anna states, “I returned (to the U.S) in March, and at that point, people had been talking about it for awhile in Italy, but it had only been bad there [Italy] for around a month.” Contrary to the American rules and guidelines, Italy’s stay at home orders were much more stringent. “The biggest restriction there was the stay at home order that didn’t allow anyone to leave their houses unless they absolutely had to. My host dad worked with the police, so he still had to go to work.”

Other places in Europe, such as Germany, had more laid back restrictions. Germany, which saw its low point in cases reported in June, has now begun to experience an uptick in cases. As of October 6th, 2,639 new cases were reported compared to just 214 on June 2nd. When asked what the German shutdown looked like, Frankfurt International School student Payton Robinson said, “The only places not open are clubs and other places like that due to the large number of people in such a small space.” Despite the recent upward trend in cases, the German government has opted to begin reopening the country. “Most public places are open, but there are still rules, like a max number of people allowed in the store at one time, masks must be kept on while inside, and some places require you to sanitize your hands before entering.” As the cases grow again in not only Germany, but all around Europe, Frankfurt International School is considering returning back to fully online for the following semester. 

Much like the United States, social distancing seems to be playing a large role in the lives of those overseas. “The middle school has been impacted the most because six members of the community there have it. They are all distance learning and have been traced back to each other. High school is still completely fine,” says Enya Graham, a student at the American School of London. Social distancing guidelines state that people should convene in small groups, usually around 4-10 depending on the local and state guidelines, and this would appear to be the case abroad. “There’s a rule that we can’t be in a group anywhere that is larger than 6,” recounts Enya. 

With no end in sight, it’s hard to predict the outcome of the pandemic. Experts estimate that a vaccine could take anywhere from six months to two years to develop. That, coupled with the FDA’s requirement for two months worth of safety data regarding the vaccine, gives the U.S., as well as the global community, some time to continue battling the virus. Meanwhile, students, both domestic and foreign, will have to make do with online learning before schools can be made safe again for regular attendance.