A new way of living

07 Apr 2020

It is my third week in Japan, and I am still busy adjusting to my new life here. Everybody who goes abroad on exchange has to adjust at first, so I came here prepared to do so. But what neither me or anybody else was prepared for, was the global pandemic that is COVID-19 and its consequences for us.

According to my university’s schedule, I should be having my orientation weeks right now, and all new students would meet and get to know each other. Since social distancing is becoming a must, however, instead of meeting new people we have to stay inside our dorm rooms and avoid meetups. Therefore, there is not much I could experience in Japan yet, but I still want to share with you how my days are going over here.

Under other circumstances, I might have been frustrated or even angry about my lonely confinement, but even while in quarantine on my own, I feel a strange sense of community. Social media is taking over most of our lives at the moment, and much of what I have been finding online is how we are all together in this, so-to-say, global quarantine. Hashtags called #WeStayHome, at-home fitness challenges and online cooking together are a new way of being together while being separated, and this way of coping has been helping me through the last few days.

Also, I feel very fortunate that I was able to come to Japan in the first place. I have heard many stories of students who were not able to go anymore, or students here in Japan who had to go back to their home countries. For me personally, I made the decision to stay here because the situation with the virus seems to be better in Japan than in Germany (my home country) at the moment.

To come to an end, I really expected to be a little bit homesick once I would come here, but things turned out to be different. We are all separated from one another, but we are also all facing similar challenges. Let’s take these uncertain times to feel connected to one another again, and come out feeling stronger than we did before.

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