What an experience – the lockdown story of our wonderful Dublin host family, Mrs Maria T.
It started some four months ago when her student William’s school closed down following the lockdown.
The school didn’t just close down during lockdown, it closed permanently, with no one left to support us or our host family or indeed the student. William was a 59-year-old mature student from Argentina and booked on a 10-week programme. The school closed down just at the time he arrived, so he didn’t manage to start any of his school lessons and was left stranded.
What did we do? What did our fantastic host family do? Keep him, look after him, support him throughout.
He had medical needs as an insulin-dependent diabetic, had run out of money that he’d bought as an allowance for his time in Ireland and he also ran out of his medication. Together, with the support of our host who drove him to and from hospitals and embassies, he stayed on in Dublin for a further few weeks (from original 10-weeks).
It wasn’t all stressful. He enjoyed homemade Irish meals, walks with the hosts dog, feet-up chatting to his host, Maria, who enjoyed his company too as a host who lives by herself.
Within weeks, loaded with the stress of it all (half of which we are not even talking about in this piece), they adjusted and adapted to a routine….breakfast in the conservatory at 8am, trying new recipes together for dinner, calling family back home to check on their health and other local matters with his own life and family in lockdown in Argentina. He walked the dog, read the newspapers, gained valuable experience on online shopping, called the consulate, called the embassy, called the doctors and carried on daily until someone came good!
No other school would teach him, no organisation would offer assistance. He couldn’t get a flight home as his country had closed their borders. Blessed with a comfortable home setting at hosts home with a garden, William eventually got on a repatriation flight back to Argentina through France after eleven weeks in Dublin and is home safe and sound and in one piece!
A wonderfully kind host who went above and beyond and, to this day, keeps in touch with him sharing their memories of lockdown in Dublin. We thank her from the bottom of our hearts, even if we sent chocolates 😉 Photos of her in receipt!
William was placed with a host family Mrs Maria T by the accommodation provider, Hosts International. Hosts International’s incredible staff namely Janette and Jessica (with her Spanish language assistance) assisted the student and the host every single day of every week. We asked our host how she felt about the whole thing. She said, “Would I change things? Probably yes. Will I continue hosting students? Yes.” she said with a laugh!
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