Virtual classes make transition back to American school even more challenging for new student

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Photo courtesy of Nanda Joao

Junior Fernanda “Nanda” Joao recently moved back to Missouri from Israel and feels conflicted about experiencing high school virtually.

Jack Daws, Staff Reporter

While virtual learning has presented new situations and challenges for all students and staff, for one student it has created a special set of challenges.

Junior Fernanda “Nanda” Soria Joao came into this virtual learning situation, while also having recently moved to America from another country in the middle of a global pandemic. Joao moved to Missouri from Israel at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

But, despite not getting the chance to participate in her new school in person and meet her classmates face-to-face, she is looking forward to having an American high school experience.

“I actually used to live here and go to Rockwood Valley Middle School, so moving back isn’t much of a change, and it’s nice to be back in America,” Joao said. 

Although Joao previously experienced life in America, there are some things that stand out to her now that she has returned. 

“The weather is really different here, and it’s much hotter than I remember, but I lived by the beach in Israel, so everyone would walk everywhere. Here, everyone has cars and hangs out at other people’s houses, that’s really different from what I’m used to,” Joao said.

The decision to move back to Missouri was prompted by her father’s job, and Joao said she would rather finish high school at an American school rather than a private international school.  

“I was definitely upset when I heard school was going to be virtual,” she said. “I was really looking forward to being at school and having high school experiences, and became very nervous because online school at my school last year was very hard, and I worried it would be the same this year.”

Speaking about her virtual learning experience, she said, “I like it better than online school at my old school where it was really difficult to follow.”

Joao said she hasn’t had the opportunity to engage with and see most of the people she used to be friends with which has made this learning curve even that much more strenuous.  

She said, “I was really looking forward to football games and all the American teen experiences, so I hope the coronavirus settles down because then I’ll get to go through high school like a normal teenager.”