How COVID has affected exchange students

Kaitlyn Fisher, News Writer

COVID-19 has caused quite the disruptive year. Events cancelled, weddings postponed, virtual graduations, and much more. One of the most constant and important parts of many children and teen’s lives has also been affected; school. Students of Eagan High School have taken to Zoom for their learning. However, online school doesn’t just include the residents of Eagan and surrounding cities. Exchange students have been impacted by this pandemic in many ways as well.


Upon speaking with Ms. Krohse-Hermon, a counselor at Eagan High School, she stated “We usually have anywhere from 5-10 exchange students a year. COVID has definitely impacted how many students are able to study abroad.” This year there are only two exchange students, one from Germany and another from France. 


Exchange students typically have to save up and plan for years. Before they can even start planning, there are many forms to fill out and processes to go through. For some students who want to study in the U.S., getting a student visa can be a painstaking journey. If they can’t go, like this year, it is tiring to have to replan the entire trip if they still want to go after the pandemic is under control.


Exchange students have to follow the rules of their programs, and they don’t get much say in their travel or schooling. Many students are specifically told which classes to take. When the pandemic hit, many were only given a couple of days to pack up everything and return to their home country. Sometimes the exchange program made these decisions, and other times a country would mandate students coming home. For the students who were allowed to stay in the U.S., the COVID restrictions and pandemic overall have burdened them. They can’t have the normal experiences as other students and at Eagan High School they currently have to learn online instead of in person. It also may be difficult for them to go through the pandemic in a foreign country without familiarities such as their family.


This pandemic has affected many people, exchange students included. For many, being in a different country with a different culture is hard enough, but with a pandemic on top of that it is even more challenging. Hopefully next school year it will be easier and more enjoyable for exchange students to study in the United States.