By Natalie Romero
Glaucia Monteiro was studying French in Collonges-sous-Salève, like many La Sierra University students do each year. She enjoyed immersing herself in another culture and traveling across Europe. The upcoming spring quarter promised many things, including completing government testing for competency in the language and finishing her minor.
But in early March, the spreading COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Glaucia’s year abroad was cut short when she was given a mere 48 hours to leave the country before the borders closed in an attempt to keep the virus from moving further across France. “There was only one option for me,” said Glaucia of the sudden and unexpected experience. “Returning home.”
It happened quickly; Glaucia and her fellow American classmates didn’t have time to say proper goodbyes to their new friends in France. “And with all the crazy screenings, I was even afraid to cry lest my grief would be mistaken for a COVID-19 symptoms and land me in quarantine or worse,” Glaucia said of her stressful time in the French airport.
When she arrived back in the United States, there were even more complications. La Sierra’s campus had been shut down, and Glaucia had to find a way to stay in school from her family home in Massachusetts. She lost her music scholarship, didn’t have a job, and wasn’t sure how she was going to pay for her upcoming spring quarter courses—let alone how she would be able to afford the 2020-21 school year.
“My mother works in a factory and barely makes ends meet,” Glaucia explained. “Before the pandemic, I was supporting myself financially by working and with scholarships.” So when she received a form from La Sierra in her email inbox to help determine student need, she filled it out immediately. Before long, Glaucia received word that she qualified for relief and wouldn’t have to drop out of school as she had feared.
With the help of the Emergency Student Aid Fund, Glaucia was able to enroll in both her spring and fall quarter classes without falling behind on her Religious Studies degree. For her, and countless others like her, scholarships are the difference between attending and not attending a private Christian college.
When asked what she would say to the donors who sponsored the fund, Glaucia emphasized that without the help she received from La Sierra, she would be studying at a state school and earning a different major. “I would be missing out on growing my relationship with God through La Sierra’s supportive online culture,” she said. “This made continuing my education and Christian experience possible.” Thanks to her financial aid, Glaucia remains on track to complete her degree in spring of 2021.
Hundreds of La Sierra’s students have been struggling over the last several months due to the impact of COVID-19. But kindhearted contributors have helped reverse the striking socioeconomic complications of the pandemic on the lives of many of our young scholars. To make a contribution, please visit https://lasierra.edu/donate/.
This story originally appeared in magazine.lasierra.edu.