The first three months of my study abroad experience felt too good to be true. But things took a different turn when Netherlands decided to go into partial lockdown last month because COVID cases were spiking like never before. Winter came, daylight savings happened, and we barely got a full 7 hours of daytime. All of these things combined, it set a different mood for everyone in the program. We thought the last month or two would be even better because we would want to make the most of our remaining time here, but the virus said nope.
As of December 19th, a complete, strict lockdown was put into effect, and nobody had any time to prepare for it at all. It is our last week in the program and we are basically under house arrest. While we understand the reason why this measure had to be taken, it’s still a bummer to have to spend your last days with your friends like this. My friends and I made a list of all of the things we wanted to do before we left and now it’s a bit sad to look at it because we don’t know when we’ll ever be able to do it together again. There were restaurants with amazing food that we wanted to revisit, a few more museums to see, new bars we wanted to check out, etc but I guess now we’ll have to make another Amsterdam visit to do these things.
It’s difficult to maintain the stability of your mental health when things around you feel so gloomy but I guess we’re all trying not to let that get in our way of enjoying the little time we have. COVID has dominated our lifestyle and limited our activities so much in the past almost two years and we have all just reached a point of frustration. This of course doesn’t mean that it’s okay not to adhere to these newly set rules because they are after all for everybody’s benefit, but we can’t deny that it’s really difficult too. One of the reasons why this lockdown affects us so much is that it’s a reminder of how badly the virus is spreading, and the thought of possibly getting sick while away from home and our family is frightening. Before I arrived in Netherlands, I remember my sister being anxious of what would happen if cases rose rapidly during the course of my program and the borders closed. At that time I brushed it off for just paranoia because I thought, “We’ve had our second wave already there’s no way the third is going to be worse.” But boy was I wrong.
The transition from having the option of doing pretty much anything we wanted to being able to do absolutely nothing has been abrupt and difficult to navigate. We’re all trying to have fun, focus on academics, be safe and prepare to leave the country all at once and it’s a lot to have on one’s plate at one given moment in time, but I still know, despite all of this, that when I look back and think of my time in Amsterdam, I’ll still remember the good before I remember the bad.
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<p>I am an international student from Kathmandu, a small city in Nepal, currently pursuing my Bachelor's degree at DePauw University in Indiana. I'm majoring in Neuroscience and have a keen interest in psychology. There are a few things that I enjoy doing in my free time, like singing, trying out new recipes, reading, etc. I have fostered a lot of cats back at home in Nepal so yes I'm a cat lady, but I absolutely love dogs as well. I'm mostly an introvert but if you come talk to me I promise I won't be awkward, I do enjoy having conversations with people and learning new perspectives.</p>