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L6th student Yoko N's honest reflection of her experience during Lockdown is heartwarming. Yoko decided not to return to Japan during the recent pandemic and instead stay with her host family in Scotland:

"When I heard that the school would not be reopening for summer term, I had two choices; either to go back to Japan where my family lives, or to stay in the UK. This was a very hard decision to make, but first of all, I need to explain my background to make it clear why I struggled to make this decision. I come from a scholarship program in Japan, and the part of the agreement is to concentrate on studying for two years without going back to Japan. I acknowledge that this may sound harsh to some people, but since two years is not too long and there are so many experiences that I wanted to gain during this period of time, I completely thought this idea was sensible and I respected it, until all of this happened.

I was determined to work hard and experience new things for whole two years so I felt like I should not go back home at this point nor I would not have the same level of motivation when I first came to the UK. At the same time, considering the risks like what if I caught coronavirus and had nowhere to stay, I thought it might be wiser to go home.

Ultimately, I decided to stay and here I am confident that this decision suited me very well. I could improve my English, I could learn more British culture, and I would still have my motivation to achieve the original aim.

I have been coping with the life in lockdown thanks to my lovely host family. In school, I did not get to expose myself to the family culture but with my hosts, I am able to talk a lot about everyday life and I really do enjoy it (It also improves my English so it is like killing two birds with one stone)! They have facilitated for me to work so well and I cannot thank them more. Along with the remote learning, I have learned so many Scottish expressions and British recipes (I enjoy cooking), and I also joined a choir which is currently holding rehearsals online.

One thing that I have noticed is that this pandemic has brought me and my friends and family closer together, not physically but mentally. I think this is becoming a common topic but I got to chat with people that I would not have otherwise (obviously through a screen but still great!) In Japan, the schools were shut for a few months as well, so my friends and I got a chance to organise zoom parties. Had it been for lockdown, this would never have happened since we would be too busy and it is almost impossible to find a time when everyone can be zooming at the same time. Of course, I wish that all this pandemic had not happened but I believe it is time like this, we need to find something joyful that shines a light to our daily lives, and I did.

Once again, I very much appreciate all the people who supported me, and I strongly hope that life goes back to normal, as soon as possible."

Yoko N, Lower 6th Form