The recent pandemic (Covid-19) has impacted education systems in universities around the world. The impact has been dramatic for institutions, academics, and students looking for workable short term solutions for online teaching and learning. The unique challenge facing higher education encouraged DEN to look for opportunities to stay in contact with students using online facilities. Through the academic initiative, we invited students to meet and organise feasible and appropriate projects at this time. Using Inside Westminster we have agreed that students will write an article and or provide a 5 minutes video of their reflection and experience of Covid-19. We have encouraged students from all over the world to express their stories and share them with each other, hoping that this would provide a channel not only to learn but also to engage with each other. Hence, the following articles in this section are students’ reflections/experiences of Covid-19.
We opened our eyes one day with the most shocking news that Coronavirus or COVID-19 has hit London after it emerged in Wuhan China in December 2019. While the pandemic started to cause a fast outbreak around the world, I was still in London studying. News about the killing virus has been all the time in social media, TV, radio and newspapers, including news about the increasing infections. More alarmingly, news about the rising numbers of deaths in many parts of the world, which reached thousands per day was causing much panic and anxiety to me. News on social media was very alarming and annoying and some of them were fake. So, I decided to focus only on news from trusted sources, including the World Health Organization and ministries of health in some countries, where the number of infections was rising. I found useful information about the precautionary procedures that should be adopted in order to avoid infection with COVID-19, including frequent washing of hands, wearing hand-gloves, sanitation of hands with sanitizers, and wearing face masks.
However, despite committing to the precautionary instructions of personal hygiene, I was still worried because the number of infections started to double, and many alarming videos of people falling while walking because of COVID-19. Therefore, I decided to travel to my home country, however, classes were still going as usual, and I couldn’t travel without the approval of my university. What made me feel even worse, and even to start panicking, was when I heard that my home country, Saudi Arabia, was going to close its borders, which meant I wouldn’t be able to go back. This was when I started contacting my lecturers about going back, they were really helpful and understanding and they were happy to help through video calls. However, immigration did not approve, so I had to stay until classes went online. Luckily, within a week the University decided to start online classes, and as soon as this happened I booked my ticket, and my friends and I travelled the day after.
Our flight was from London to Bahrain and from Bahrain to Dammam. Guess what? Unfortunately, while we were at the airport, they told us that the flight from Bahrain to Dammam was cancelled, and the causeway was closed. So, we couldn’t go back to Dammam, you can say I had a small heart attack, it was a really hard decision we had to make: whether to stay in London or fly to Bahrain, not knowing when we would be going back home. After some time waiting there without knowing what to do, we decided to go to Bahrain. Once we all reached our seats in the plane the sanitizing process started: we started sanitizing the seats and everywhere near us, we got our own blankets and of course, the masks were never taken off. Upon our arrival to Bahrain, we were informed that we were given an exception and we would be able to go back through the causeway, I guess you can imagine how happy I was at that time!
At the same time, we were told that we would be quarantined in a hotel in Khobar for 14 days as one of the precautionary measures to protect from the outbreak of COVID-19. At that time I did not really care about this part, as I was happy with anything as long as I was in the same place as my family. We were taken to the hotel we asked to be together so they agreed to put each two of us in one room, however, we could not see our other friends the entire period of quarantine. Further, we were subject to COVID-19 test, which turned out negative, but we still had to stay there all the quarantine period of 14 days to make sure that our health was good, and got tested again on the 13th day and turned out also negative. The period passed well, however, the feeling of being in my own country in a hotel for 14 days without seeing my family for such a long period of time was really weird. After I was done with the quarantine, my dad came to pick me up from the hotel. Do you know what was the saddest part of all of this? I had to stay away and not hug him after this long period of time! I guess this was my hardest experience that I have ever lived, with this up and down of emotions, something that none of us will ever forget.
After 14 Days of Quarantine Unable to Hug My Father
Sara Aldossary, BA, International Relations