Ash Cloud Strands Foreign Students In Mass.

Some foreign exchange students are staying in Massachusetts longer than they — or their host families — bargained for because of the volcanic ash cloud over Europe that has severely disrupted air travel for much of the past week.

At Commonwealth School in Boston's Back Bay, 20 students from Spain were supposed to fly back Sunday. Now they'll be leaving a week from now, said teacher James Milan.

"Both the Spanish and American students are in fact quite content," Milan said. "It is the adults in the situation — either as administrators of the exchange or the host families or the families back in Spain — who are the most concerned and anxious to get them back home."

Indeed, Julia Nueno, a student from Barcelona, said, "I think for the kids in the exchange, it's a good thing, so it's like a dream coming true."

Milan said host families have agreed to continue to accommodate the students, and while there was a packed itinerary for the past week, that's no longer the case.

"We are scrambling to see what they're going to be doing over the next week," he said, adding that a big part of the schedule will include taking classes at Commonwealth, a private school.

Nueno has no complaints about this, either. "Their school is better than ours," she said.

Another 18 students from Italy are stranded in Pittsfield because they cannot get flights home.

School officials there say they'll keep an elementary school building open during school vacation so the students can resume their studies while waiting to get booked on a flight.

This program aired on April 19, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


More from WBUR

Listen Live