Mikko Heinäsuo, Finland
Originally from Finland, Heinäsuo enjoyed the short time he had in the U.S. before the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted his exchange.
April 2, 2020
As COVID-19 has spread across the world, everyone has taken some form of action. While those who are older and at-risk apply extra hand sanitizer and stay inside, young people have flooded beaches and other tourist hot spots, taking advantage of cheap flights and accommodations. Unfortunately, as the virus proceeds to infect more and more people, governments are being forced to step in. Much like individuals, countries are all handling the outbreak in different ways.
Citizen safety is undeniably the goal when forming rules in an attempt to stop the coronavirus. Striving for this ideal, many countries have mandated that all of their foreign exchange students currently studying overseas return home. This means a multitude of foreign exchange students, both in the United States and abroad, are returning to their home countries on very short notice. Mikko Heinäsuo is one of these such students.
Heinäsuo was a foreign exchange student from Finland who arrived in the states on August 28 with plans to stay for the entirety of the 2019-2020 school year. Due to the coronavirus, he left the United States on March 19, having his stay cut short. During his time in the U.S., Heinäsuo was a part of the wrestling team and he was hosted by his grandparents, Al and Sue Petron. For the 18-year old, the worst part of the coronavirus pandemic was having to leave the United States with such short notice. Now that he is back in Finland, Heinäsuo is staying in the town of Hämeenkyrö. There, he is enjoying spending time with his friends.
As for the country’s coronavirus measures, the Finnish government has closed down Finland’s borders to all non-essential travel. Businesses are currently shut down as well, with the exception of supermarkets and other essential businesses. In addition, the government advises that citizens remain indoors. Much of the precautions in Finland are very similar to the advice given to American citizens. Heinäsuo’s advice to American students is a little different though. “Stay safe and have fun,” is his recommendation as we all hunker down to wait out the coronavirus.
Stay safe and have fun.”
— Mikko Heinäsuo
Though the coronavirus is something that the world was not prepared for, both individuals and countries are attempting to take the rapidly changing situation in stride. For exchange students, this means returning home with very little warning. For the rest of us, it may mean going out to buy extra toilet paper and suffering through a few more weeks of online school. For Heinäsuo, it means returning home and enjoying some unexpected time off.