Student Blogs/Lauren in Germany
On March 2, I moved into my new apartment in Berlin. I remember the day really well; I checked into the new apartment with my friend and new roommate Georgia, and then we started moving all of our stuff from our old dorms into the new place. I remember while we were waiting for the train my roommate and I noted that the first case of coronavirus had been reported in Berlin. It was a little off-putting, but we brushed it off. We were excited about our new place and were looking forward to the new semester! We spent the next week having friends over, going out, and going about our business as usual. Every day there was more news about the virus, but the German government said “don’t panic” so we didn’t panic; we didn’t think much of it at all.
Day by day there seemed to be more and more information about what was going on and where. The situation in Europe deteriorated so quickly, it’s hard to figure out what happened on which day. On March 11, my host university announced they would push back the start of the summer semester from April 1 to April 20, and if there weren’t improvements by then we would continue with online classes.
I made sure to stay in contact with my mom a little extra throughout February and March. When Germany started reporting more and more cases, we discussed whether or not I would come home. Given my family circumstances, we decided it may be better for me to stay in Germany. We also feared that a long journey home, including at minimum two flights and three international airports, might be more dangerous than necessary.
Considering I have a very comfortable apartment in Berlin, a balcony that receives plenty of sun, and a close friend as a roommate, we thought that staying in Berlin would be my best option. We believe waiting it out here, in a place where I can comfortably quarantine, would be my best bet.
That being said, if I had told my mom I wanted to come home, she would have done everything in her power to get me home. My family has been incredibly supportive during this time, and I’m very grateful for both my friends and family who have been checking in with me. I’ve been missing home a little bit more than normal, but I mostly miss a sense of normalcy.
Making the transition to online classes has been rather difficult for me. I find it difficult to concentrate and have a hard time focussing on course work. I’m finding it requires a lot of will power to do well in these classes and I’m working much harder to stay on top of everything, or at least it feels like I’m working harder. I really appreciate the resources Carleton has been providing me throughout the transition to online classes, and I will finish the semester with HWR online.
As of now, I’m happy with my choice to remain in Germany. I’m incredibly grateful to have a close friend as a roommate. If that weren’t the case, I really think I probably would have come home. I do really miss social situations and seeing my friends; I think this has been one of the most difficult points of adjustment for me. I make even more of a point to call my friends, both abroad and at home. Trivia nights, Netflix parties, and Facetime calls have all been really useful staying connected and trying to keep entertained – it even gave me a chance to introduce Jeopardy to my foreign friends! I miss my friends and family at home a little bit more, and I’ve been grappling with a bit of homesickness, but overall I am glad I stayed.
Lauren is a third-year Bachelor of International Business (BIB) student studying abroad in Germany.