The move to online classes after March 13 has been difficult for many Algonquin students. For some international students like Leon Radaelli, however, the changes have been especially challenging.
Radaelli, who is a first-year mechanical engineering technology student, was living in residence when the change happened. [Note: this reporter and Radaelli became friends in residence.] Although international students were given the option of remaining in residence, Radaelli made the decision to leave. The move was a very stressful time.
Radaelli is from Toulouse in the
south of France but went to school for most of his life up in Hong Kong. Since Europe was getting the most cases of COVID-19 at that point and was on lockdown, Radaelli’s parents thought it would be a good idea for him to travel back to Hong Kong since the airports were still open and it was safer.
At first it was hard for Radaelli to get a flight to Hong Kong because at that time all of the airports in Canada were slowly cancelling flights. Luckily Radaelli was able to book a last minute flight to Hong Kong.
While Radaelli was at the airport in Toronto, it didn’t look like it normally does. “The airport was a mass hysteria,” he said. “There were people equipped with full body suits and gas masks. People were disinfecting everything they got close to. I was in a sweater and jeans with one
mask that’s it.”
The flight was 1 hour 30 minutes from Ottawa to Toronto. Then 15 hours from Toronto to Hong Kong. He left at 9 p.m. on March 23 and landed at 5 a.m. on March 25.
It has officially been two weeks since Radaelli has been in Hong Kong. With classes all being online he is finding it very difficult especially with the time difference.
“I’ve missed classes,” he said. “I’m completely lost, and I have a couple of final tests coming up and I’m very afraid I’ll miss them because of the time zone difference. I have a 12-hour time difference. I’m 12 hour ahead so my 4 p.m calculus class is now my 4 a.m. calculus class.”