Two students of south american high school are unaware of when they will be able to return home due to the pandemic.
From the top of their 17-year-old, Isabella Baralt Sánchez, of Venezuela, and Julissa Osorio Jara, Peru, were expected to learn French and to share the daily lives of Quebecers of their age for almost a year. This was without counting on the coronavirus, which has messed up their exchange and were forced to extend their stay indefinitely in the city of Quebec.
“I’m a little embarrassed, because this was not the plan,” said Isabella, in a French accents of quebec.
The school year at the Académie Saint-Louis, such as Julissa, was abruptly halted on 13 march.
Worse, his return flight scheduled for July 3 has been cancelled, and the airline connections with the British, where it will have to make a stop before arriving in Venezuela, were suspended minimally until 31 August. The venezuelan government has not demonstrated the intent to repatriate its nationals of Canada, and the consulate has not responded to our questions.
Julissa, of Peru, not known when or how she will be able to find his relatives because his return flight won’t take off.
Peru plans to charter a plane to repatriate its nationals when enough of them will be interested, says the vice-consul, Diego Rodriguez, without specifying the date.
“At least, I feel safe here,” said Julissa, who suffers from asthma, highlighting the good side of things. His country regrets more than 10,000 victims, and 280 000 cases of COVID-19.
The pandemic has hit over 6000 exchange students of Rotary International, often minors, lived in the four corners of the globe. The organization, which promotes peace in the world, has had to react quickly.
In Quebec, the committee of the exchange youth, who oversaw 17 students from quebec and as many foreign students, has resigned to recommending them to go home around the 20th of march.
“We were a little torn. Our fear, it was to let a young one and that it is taken to be in transit internationally, ” recalls Eric Melançon, co-ordinator of the trade of the district of Quebec.
For Isabella and Julissa, it was already too late : Venezuela and Peru had closed their borders respectively on 12 and 15 march.
Fortunately, their host families and are ” very comprehensive “, according to Mr. Melançon, and have agreed to host them longer.
Josephine Labrie, who shares his room with his sister home to venezuela for a few months, do not complain. “Isabella puts the life in our containment,” she says.
Even if the two girls are supported by the Rotary in their efforts to renew their visa and their insurance companies, the situation is no less frightening at times.
“I have not even 18 years old… It’s stressful,” admits Isabella, who was to begin his studies in journalism in the fall of Venezuela.
This uncertainty is compounded by the regret of not having known of the important moments of exchange : the prom, the trip to New York, and most of all, goodbye to their friends in quebec and abroad. In the meantime their departure, the young women hope to at least enjoy the summer in quebec.