Nowhere to Rest Her Head

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

Imagine being 15,000 miles from home in a foreign country with no place to stay. It's a scary scenario that has come true for a Romanian girl visiting Bay County.

She came here alone with nothing but a temporary Visa and high hopes, but those hopes where destroyed when she says the travel agent she paid to find her a job and place to stay didn't follow through.

For the week and a half she's been here; 22-year-old Arina Popel has been staying with friends, also visiting from Romania, but the sponsor family they are staying with doesn't have enough room to keep Arina the entire summer.

Arina's friends say Helina Maxwell, a representative of Work and Travel USA, was supposed to have everything set up for Arina's arrival. Instead they say Maxwell is taking a cut of Arina's pay from a job she got on her own, all the while not living up to her promise to find Arina a home.

"She'll tell us that she'll have a place in a week, or two weeks or a month, or she'll say she has a place, but then two days later she'll come back and say never mind, some other students are occupying the place. That's not fair," says Daniel Marcu, Arina's friend.

Maxwell has not returned our repeated phone calls. Maxwell apparently represents more than 50 young foreigners visiting Bay County, and Daniel says there are at least two other students from Turkey that are having problems with Maxwell.

For now Arina is hoping Maxwell will return her phone calls and finally meet her end of the contract by finding her a place to stay. If not she'll be looking for a home on her own. If you're interested in helping Arina you can her by calling 230-4583.


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