From late February to the beginning of June, I was not allowed to see anyone or go to public places, so I continued playing soccer by myself for almost 3 months. I had never experienced such loneliness and wondered “it means nothing if I just stayed here and do nothing. I want to go back to Japan.”
Then, school restarted at the beginning of June. I was worried that I would not do well with local Canadian students. I didn’t used to interact with many local students before the pandemic, because I had many international friends from other countries. However, it became a very good experience. Now, I have many local friends and we take fun classes together. I am not worried or anxious anymore. My soccer team has also started, and I can make friends from other schools as well.
As I see myself now, I can tell that I managed to make my life work, not just by myself, but also with lots of supports from many people including my teachers, host family and friends. My life in Canada is totally different from the way it used to be, but this tough time gave me the ability to withstand adversity and many things which mean a lot to me.
As soon as I got out of my 14-day quarantine, I went out to check the community of the Comox Valley. It was so beautiful and I could see peace from people’s faces on the street. I ate fish and chips with my host family in a port with endless blue seas. Then I went to the Gelato store in downtown and tried their macaroon- it was so delicious.
Also, I can see the glacier from the balcony of my house, and it feels so nice to see the snow clearly on the mountains. My school also made strict rules to protect its students and teachers. For example, we move only in one direction and study within our own cohort. We wear masks while walking around and always sanitize our hands and the things we used. I feel very safe.
Moreover, I found many international restaurants in the Comox Valley, including a Korean restaurant (Garlic and Pepper). It is a small city, but there are many buses, so it is convenient to move around. I like the fact that the Comox community is not as big as other big cities like Vancouver and Toronto, because it keeps us safe and healthy more easily and it’s great that students can go out and get some rest when they feel tired. I want more international students to know about Comox and come experience the precious things I experienced.
If you ask me, what do I feel most grateful for? It would be the precious experience I’ve had during the global pandemic. It was stressful for me at the beginning, because everything was new and unexpected, such as school closure, online courses and staying at home all the time. Fortunately, I overcome all of these with the help of my host family, my teachers, the international office and my friends. I also realized how important it is to help each other in this tough time, as we are all together and we need to support each other.
When I found out I could not go back home in summer, I was sad at first, but I tried to be positive and thought it could be a good chance to improve my English. My homestay family was wonderful and they were very nice and kind. They made me feel I am actually part of their family. I felt very comfortable spending time with them. They took me out to the waterfalls for hiking, to the river and the beach to swim, to the lake to kayak and to the forest for biking. We also drove to get ice cream and watch movies in the theatre. We baked pizza and cookies at home. There were many memories that I will never forget. I can’t believe how beautiful it is in the Comox Valley- lots of nature and friendly people.
I guess Covid-19 isn’t only negative to me, because it’s taught me to be positive and brave, to help each other, not to give up, not to be afraid of challenges and to be thankful of what I have. It grows me to become more independent and confident. I hope Covid will disappear soon and wish a peaceful world come to everyone!
I am in a very nice host family, who made my quarantine a lot easier. They gave me puzzles, a few books from the library, word seeks and a basket full of snacks. Even with masks and distance I get to know my family very well and could talk with them a lot. Fortunately, my family has a very cute dog, who was my quarantine buddy. I spent a lot of time with him playing in the backyard, which was good for both of us. It was cool to be not alone all day.
If you also will be in quarantine, here are some tips: Think of skills you want to improve or things you want to learn in the beginning of your quarantine and write it down, so you have always something you can refer to, when you get bored. I learned for example to solve the rubric cube, tried to improve my drawing skills with YouTube tutorials and spent a lot of time solving puzzles while hearing English podcasts.
Now, in the end of my quarantine, I can tell that the time passed faster than I expected and I am pretty sure that these two weeks are worth the experience I´ll gain the next six months!
I never thought I would stay in Canada for full two years until my graduation without visiting anyone in South Korea. My life remaining in the Comox Valley is good, although I cannot deny that It was depressing to see my friends’ Instagram postings and stories. But, I came up with perfect solutions. I jumped in the pool in my backyard often during summer. After swimming in the water for an hour, I got energized again. I read books while sitting on a cozy swing chair. I did some workout, walked the dog and baked desserts.
Improving my mental health is very helpful, despite that such circumstances were not anticipated. Sometimes I felt lonely, then I would do these activities and have a phone call with my friends. This really makes me appreciate the Internet development. Joining the activities with my host family was great too, like assisting my roommate’s cooking and going out to the lake together. They always support me and help me in many ways. Staying with a host family is amazing, especially in this hard time.
Many people asked me what I did during my summer break in the Comox Valley with Covid-19. They thought I would be very bored, but in fact, I found many things to do. First, I read. Reading is magical and powerful. When you choose a book you like, and enjoy a cup of tea in a comfortable corner, it is so beautiful.
I also exercised. Even though we couldn’t go out much, I used fitness ball in my room, did yoga and lots of push-ups. Regardless of the weather or the virus, you can still exercise everyday to keep your energy up and keep fit and healthy.
I have been studying in the Comox Valley for a year. Many things have changed due to Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean studying abroad becomes impossible. At my school, Highland Secondary, we follow very strict sanitization rules. We wear masks when we are in the hallway. Hand sanitizers are placed throughout the school, and there are a lot of sanitizers and wipers in each classroom. We usually go into the classroom, disinfect our hands, disinfect our desks and chairs, and then start classes.
We are also in a cohort system now. We go through our first class from 9am to 11:35am and then we have lunch till 12:25pm. We work on our second class from 12:25 to 3pm, so we don’t need to move so much at school. On Tuesday and Friday, there are flex blocks which allow us to study by ourselves. In those blocks, we usually spend time following up missing assignments and doing our homework.