Greetings from the Czech Republic!

The Gauntlet’s Social Media Manager, senior Lina Graf, is one of the few Falcons attending school from abroad. We asked her what life was like attending school from overseas. This is what she said.

Attending class via Zoom from another country:  Rating: 7/10
Recommend to a friend? Perhaps.

The Coronavirus swept the world into a frenzy, and everyone is dealing with the repercussions of the virus differently. We went from going anywhere we wanted to quarantining with our nutty siblings. We went from a reality without masks to having them become a part of our moment to moment existence. Our new lifestyle of wearing masks and carting around hand sanitizer is here to stay for quite some time.

When school started, my family decided it wasn’t safe to travel, so as a result, I’m currently home in the Czech Republic amidst all this craziness. During the summer, Corona was virtually nonexistent here in the Czech Republic. Masks were not required. Social distancing was not enforced. Cases were minimal, and life was great.

Little did the citizens of Czech know that when September hit, cases would rise, big time. I guess Nostradamus did not predict the second wave for Czechs in his visions, because we did NOT see it coming.  Here, people (students, I guess) went back to school, and the cases went up by the hundreds daily.

Compared to last year (regular old life at SSES), life has definitely changed. It’s 4:17 pm, and I’m in my third-period class. 4:17 pm is not the usual time for any class, but now it’s usual for me: I’m six hours ahead. Pretty strange, eh?

“I’m six hours ahead so I have to make sure to do all of my homework in the morning.””

— Lina Graf

To go from attending school in-person (last winter), then virtual school in Florida (last spring), to attending virtual school again from a completely different continent (now) is quite a change. But I don’t mind it at all. I’ve found that online school is actually more beneficial and efficient than in-person school.

Here’s my reasoning:
1. I get to do school work whenever I want (of course, I don’t miss a Zoom).
2. I don’t waste time going to and from school, so I get work done faster
3. I get to sleep in.

So, what does a typical day for a Saint Stephen’s student living in Europe look like? Remember, I’m six hours ahead of you guys.

10 am: Wake up
Check the time. 10 am? Not enough. I need more sleep.
11 am: Wake up again.
11:30 am: Homework? Perhaps I’ll take a look at something for school
11:45 am: Open AP Lit “Stories”
11:45:30 am: Read first page of “Stories”
11:50 am: Close “Stories”
Noon: Lunchtime!
12:01 pm: Order tuna salad with couscous
12:35 pm: Food’s here. Pay driver & eat food.
1 pm: watch Reign
2 pm: First class of the day!
3:40 pm: Journalism (The Gauntlet!)
5:10pm: Economics
6:40 pm: Free time because I have study hall
7:10 pm: I should start my essay
7:15 pm: Open ‘Google Docs,’ put name, title, and page numbers (can’t forget the MLA format ladies and gents!)
8-10 pm: Reserved time for doing nothing
10 pm: Go to sleep early because let’s face it: my day was exhausting

Just kidding. I actually work a lot harder than that, but you get the picture. Being abroad and being a virtual student can get pretty interesting.

The crazy life of a virtual high school student living abroad… Yes, I know, I have no idea how I have piles and piles of work and somehow manage to fit it all into my busy schedule. But I manage somehow.

All joking aside, though, it’s actually quite a difficult experience attending school through Zoom because a lot of the time, I can’t hear or see what’s going on in class. It’s also 100 times more difficult to ask questions, and when I finally decide to ask or say something, it feels awkward because I’m a literal floating head thanks to Ipads and tripods.  But in the end, it has challenged me to think more intensely about HOW to get things done given the challenges.

My final complaint is that when you’re abroad, time zone differences pose the biggest problem. I’m six hours ahead, so I have to make sure to do all of my homework in the morning instead of the afternoon because I end school at 9 pm.

On the other hand, I’m never behind on schoolwork because I can do everything in the morning before I travel from my bed to my desk at 2 pm to attend school.

In the end, virtual learning from Europe has its ups (like sleeping in late,) but it also has its downs (like having classes in the evenings). But learning online AND being six hours ahead on a different continent is definitely a new experience that will be hard to forget.