Studying Abroad In a Pandemic


David Comprosky

Lydia and her brother Quinn greet Beatrice for the first time at the Boston Logan Airport.

Lauren Waters, Journalist

Imagine traveling to an entirely new country in the middle of a pandemic. For Beatrice Maggio, this is reality. Beatrice, or what most call her, Bea left Rome, Italy to come to Ipswich, MA, and attend Ipswich High School in February 2021 for 5 months. 


Bea has always wanted to study abroad, she says she thinks “It’s a great way to study a new language, make new friends, and learn about a different culture.” When she was choosing where to study abroad she was looking at all of Massachusetts and found Ipswich, which “Seemed like the best of both options, both as a town and the school.”


Bea says she is glad she took this opportunity and has learned a lot about “American lifestyles and the language.” Beatrice wasn’t the only one who learned from this experience, her host, Lydia Comprosky is also grateful for this experience, although this isn’t the first time she has hosted an exchange student. 


Lydia says that, “Over the times I’ve had exchange students I have become more mature because I obviously have to make sure they’re comfortable and that their needs are prioritized so they are having a good time. Also, it’s just fun to learn about where they’re from and what they do. I’ve learned a lot about Italy and other countries.”


Lydia and her family used an exchange student program called Educatius. Educatius contacted them in the Summer and told them that there was a student who wanted to study abroad here in Ipswich and from there they talked with Beatrice over the internet and prepared for her stay. 


Educatius is the largest organization solely dedicated to high school student abroad programs for international students. Educatius offers 3 different programs for students in 16 countries around the world. You can select your location based on the price, school, sports, and arts. A host family is required to live in an English-speaking household, provide the exchange student with a bedroom and dresser, a place of study, and three meals per day.


When Beatrice first came to Ipswich “in the beginning, it was a little awkward just because you’re living with someone you just met, but once you get to know them, you become really close to them and it is really fun. You get to go on tons of adventures with them and show them around. It is basically having another sibling and it is so much fun.”


Lydia and her family have gone on many adventures trying to show Bea what America is like. They have gone to all of Ipswich’s spots, explored Boston, and tubed in New Hampshire. David Comprosky, Lydia’s dad, is a chef, so Beatrice can try tons of different types of food that she hasn’t tried before back home.


Although Bea’s stay was only 5 months long, these memories will last forever. Beatrice says that so far “it has been really nice. Everyone has been so nice to me.”


Lydia says she would recommend others to host students. She says, “Next year there are three students that need a home for the year. It would be awesome and it is honestly a great experience.” So if you are interested in hosting a forgien exchange student or even want to study abroad you can do it through Educatius, like Lydia and Beatrice did.