Lock down and stuck in Leeuwarden

The last few months have been quite uncertain for most of us. Due to the corona crisis, our lives have not been the same. While this meant a couple small changes for some, it meant big ones for others. One group that has been affected in a rather special and difficult way, is international students.

By: Alina Denise Kuntze

Because many countries closed their borders and travelling in general was or is not as easy as usually, many students have been stuck in the counties they study in away from their families and friends in these unsteady times. In order to understand their situation, I interviewed one of the international students from NHL Stenden in Leeuwarden.

“When the university closed and everyone left, I had to stay in Leeuwarden because I would have to stay in quarantine for two weeks, if I went back home and I didn’t want to endanger my family after being at the airport and train”, he explained. Few international students actually stayed in Leeuwarden as no one knew how the situation would develop.

So, what do you do without many friends around and away from your family in times of social distancing?

“We had quite some stuff to do for uni, and some of my friends stayed here in Leeuwarden, so I met up with them. We stayed in my room most of the time, to not have that much contact with other people.”, stated my interviewee. He further explained how it was hard at times to be away from his family and friends, knowing he could not just fly back to see them. Especially while having rather little distraction as even his roommates were in their home countries. “It does get lonely sometimes and you start to feel a bit weird because you know something is wrong and you just want to be home, but you know you can’t”, he described, “but then you feel those feelings and you get over it or get distracted.”

After having spent two and a half months in Leeuwarden during COVID-19 times, it is however time for him to fly to his home country and see his family again. He concludes that, while he did development a lot during this special situation and learned about how important friends and family are, he is also happy to finally see his loved ones again, even if that means being in quarantine for some time.