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.
As an international student in London, my life has not been as easy as it has been in Turkey. After lockdown and fear of Covid-19, everything has been changed in my life. On the 13th of March, our university announced that everything would be online, which meant I was able to come back to my country and feel safer at home with my family. I purchased my ticket on the 14th of March, straight after the announcement, to fly back to my hometown. I would say this was the quickest decision I have ever made in my life without planning anything. I thought I would come back to London after two months for DEN Conference and everything would be better. I didn’t even pack my items in my flat. However, nothing has happened as I thought. I literally moved back to my country, Turkey, without knowing a new journey has begun for me. I have put entire life in London into four large suitcases and started a new beginning.
Here was my journey:
I came back to Turkey safely, but some of my friends were stuck in the U.K. and struggled mentally because of flight cancellations in between countries.
I was very happy to come back and spent my whole time with my little sisters. I have never had an opportunity to spend such a long time with them, as I have been living in London for 3 years.
During the lockdown, we faced restrictions which were not “normal” for anybody. I thought my mental health was going to be impacted because of doing nothing that I am really passionate about such as travelling to different countries, going to the gym, going outside with my friends to chill etc.
Then I learned how to do creative things in order to spend time at home with my family. We played games, gossiped with my little sisters, cooked- I was not a good cook before the lockdown- and got online courses to improve myself.
Day by day, I felt that I was healing and adapting to “new normal” and Turkey again. Nowadays, some of the restrictions have been eased and we are returning to our life. However, this lockdown has taught me that family is the most valuable thing: that we should not isolate ourselves from them. Apologising from my mum, she tidied up our home while we were having fun taking pictures! 🙂
Berfin Melissa Şafak- International Relations and Development BA Honours, University of Westminster