Strong Connection

The third student to share his story is Stan Meekel, an FM student from the Netherlands who was doing an internship in Vienna, Austria when we interviewed him during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What’s your personal situation like during this pandemic?

I’m feeling fine, and fortunately I have flatmates, so I don’t live alone and I can still connect with these people. However, it is also difficult to see the same people every day, and not be able to see your family. Thankfully this crisis has made all of us want to help each other, so my flatmates and I share a lot, and that builds a strong connection. We’ve become very important in each other’s lives.

Life in Vienna in general is great. It is a beautiful city, and has a lot of parks. The people here are very friendly and act responsibly and in accordance to the corona measures.

What has your experience with the university and at your internship been like so far?

My internship is at the Belvedere, Austria’s largest art museum. I’ve been able to work and continue my internship, though it has mostly been through MS Teams and other video conference platforms. We had to adapt to the crisis, and there was a lot of risk management.

Lockdown in Vienna is now coming to an end, so I’m going back to the museum each week to organize the reopening. I was made part of the reopening task team, and given a lot of freedom to reshape some of the processes, so that visits to the museum can proceed despite the new, unusual circumstances.

I’ve also had a really good supervisor at my internship organisation, who was very involved with how I was doing throughout this whole period.

What would you like to say to other students who are preparing for an international experience?

Don’t be afraid, and be open to meeting new people! But also make sure you have some goals other than just having a good time, just in case.

Deserted gardens in front of the Belvedere museum. Picture provided by Stan Meekel.

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