Being an Exchange Student in a Global Pandemic


Oana Botoc, Staff Writer

January 2020. The madness was about to start. Nobody knew what was coming. I was one of those people, looking for opportunities and ready to start building my future.

One boring January day, while scrolling through Facebook – and no, I’m not 100 years old – I found an ad that talked about studying in the U.S.  Normally I wouldn’t click on anything like that, but something just made me do it.

A week later I went to a presentation, but I gave up the idea because it looked too expensive. Two weeks later while lying in bed with a cold – Covid-19 wasn’t a thing yet – my mom told me I could go. I burst into tears and didn’t know what to say. Then Covid hit.

From 30 exchange students that were supposed to come, we became a total of three. Sometimes it’s hard to think I’m missing out on so many people I could’ve met.

It’s painful whenever I get to experience something for the first time and everyone says how boring or not even worth-doing it is and how much better it used to be, from school activities to going out and traveling.

I’m trying to see the bright side of it and make the most out of my exchange year. I’m grateful I’m here; one mask, one suitcase, two cats, a new family, and the whole world in front of me.

Other exchange students describe their year as transforming and life-changing. I couldn’t agree more but adding the influence of “The Year That Shall Not be Named” it’s also challenging. It teaches me how to think outside the box and make the best out of anything.

One thing I know is that both happiness and sadness are only temporary. Life is not a children’s book. But we all want it to be.