Ask the locals

by Daniëlle van Adrichem

The fourth student to share her story is a European Studies student from the Netherlands who was doing an internship in Barcelona, Spain, when the coronavirus hit.

What’s your personal situation like during this pandemic?

In the beginning, when the lockdown in Barcelona began, it was a little scary
because the city turned into a ghost town overnight. I am starting to get used to it more and more now, but the city is still mostly empty. If you go out on the streets without a good reason (hospital, pharmacy, groceries) or a permission slip, you get fined €3000. Most days I feel fine, but sometimes it is a real struggle to stay inside. It’s especially hard when I see pictures from the Netherlands, where people are still (mostly) allowed to walk around freely.

What was or is the biggest challenge you are facing because of the pandemic, and what is the most positive experience you’ve had because of it?

I am in regular contact with my colleagues from the internship, and try to have a lot of contact with family and friends back home. Still, the biggest challenge is loneliness. Unfortunately my roommates left as soon as they heard that there would be a lockdown, and I don’t have a lot of contact with the other tenants in my building. Therefore the weekends can be very long (during the week I can still continue to work – from home – for my internship). I try to overcome this by calling with my family in the Netherlands a lot. However, I’ve also had really positive experiences: other colleagues who are still in Barcelona offered to help me in case I would be too scared to leave my apartment – and everyone is always up for a call or a chat! 

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

Try to make sure you can distract yourself with work or school, and do not focus too much on the news or statistics on confirmed corona cases in your area, it will only freak you out. Ask locals for the most accurate news, international news sites may not always know the most accurate info.

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