Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic Together




Volume 1, Issue 2

COVID-19 has affected us all. With schools and businesses shutting down, the virus has significantly changed our lives. The narratives we had planned for our lives were cancelled. Not only have people lost their jobs, many have lost their loved ones. All of a sudden, our daily routines shifted. Graduation ceremonies were cancelled. Health care and grocery store workers were recognized as being essential. Yet, in a new era of social distancing, people are connecting over social media, singing on balconies, and figuring out innovative ways to make masks. Here are 17 different experiences that were shared by global citizens from across the world: 

  • Sonia Rawat, India 

“Day 16 of being in lockdown in my apartment in the city of Mostar in the small nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina - the French windows and the balcony giving me access to the outside world which is completely inaccessible in these extraordinary times; especially since I belong to the high risk category as a lupus patient. Having my husband and kids in two different countries and continents and extended family in India and Singapore, I seem to be online all the time, staying in touch and ensuring others are convinced that I am fine alone in this far away land. And most of the day, teaching and meeting on Zoom, getting concerning messages from my former students from years ago, I seem to be busier than before this chaos creeped upon us. Airports have been shut and my homeland has closed its borders for more than a month. I don't know when I will step out of this apartment, or when I will be able to take a plane to meet my husband and kid in Germany or visit my mother and extended family in India. But I keep my sanity, cook, read, embroider and meditate with a group of strangers every evening on Zoom, led by a friend.” 

  • Michelle Dsouza, Portugal 

“The corona virus situation has completely displaced me; I've been studying in the US for the past three years and made the decision to travel home as schools shut down. Home for me is both Goa, India, where my mum and sister live, and Dubai, UAE where my Dad lives. However, I am not a citizen of either country, leaving me “homeless” when both countries decided to shut down borders to non-citizens. Luckily, I managed to arrive in Dubai a few hours before borders closed. But visa regulations dictate that I can only stay here for 3 months on a visitors visa, which would once again leave me homeless in a short period of time. I would love for regulations to be lowered, but at the same time, these regulations are the best way to protect society, and indeed the world, from the virus.” 

  • Tatenda Shuro, Zimbabwe

“I’m in Cyprus and as of March 10th we were officially on lockdown.We’re not allowed to move around as all shops and businesses are closed, except for amenities- which we have to get permission from the local government to go to. Public transport also stopped moving. You can only move around by taxi. And we subsequently stopped attending lectures. We’ve been doing everything online.”

  • Andrés Montiel ,Venezuela 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted pretty much everyone globally, but to different degrees. In many ways, I am fortunate since I am able to work from home, and stay home without financial stressors. However, living in Canada without my family has intensified feelings of isolation and powerlessness, given that my parents are older and live in a country with a heavily-deteriorated healthcare system. I am able to care for myself, but there is always a lingering feeling of uncertainty about what might happen to my loved ones, who are all far away.”

  • Danai Myezwa, South Africa 

“COVID-19 is an interesting phenomenon to experience in one’s lifetime. The national lock down has kept us in our homes to flatten the curve. Luckily, having parents with deemed essential jobs, it feels like business as usual. It has given us a chance to re-ground ourselves, get to know and appreciate each other and the health we have in turn. On the other hand, it has forced the community to confront the reality that some families in not-so-fortunate positions are going through, like those in SA who have an RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) home where 9 adults sleep in daily. The lack of movement has them all in close proximity, people are at risk of domestic violence incidents where distancing previously helped them.”

  • Lilian Marquez, Guatemala 

“Guatemala is on lockdown, we have had only one death from COVID-19 and 21 confirmed cases but we are already in strict isolation. Thankfully, the government acted swiftly and aggressively because our healthcare system is significantly weak. Of course the economic powers are pushing against these measures and given the poverty and terrible inequality, shutting down the country means that 70% of the population that survives on the informal economy are all of a sudden out of jobs. It is a critical situation and I doubt politically and socially it will be viable for as long as it should be. I am an environmentalist, so I am distraught not only for the human toll of the crisis, but also I do not lose sight of the underlying causes that brought us here. The human race is a virus after all, one that encroaches on every territory possible, one whose ambition and hunger for more has taken over the Earth. This crisis is our own doing. I hope that once we have weathered the massive ongoing storm we are facing that we will rebuild, not with more of the same frameworks, but those that promote equality, sustainability, and balance with nature.”

  • Ula Adamska, Poland

“This is not a senior semester any of us imagined but I decided that I want to take advantage of my (possibly) last months in Colorado and enjoy all the things I love about this place. Fortunately, the outdoors are still accessible and I’m lucky enough to be able to go to places, smell the ponderosa pine, hike, and have fun in the snow. I’m also using this time to reflect on my college experience and what I want to remember  from it. Something that I’m most proud of is developing a sense of home in Colorado while at college and I’m using this mandatory quarantine to foster it and enjoy the beauty of the region.”

CV 1

  • Francesca Liviero, United Kingdom 

“It's been an anxious and uncertain time, yet filled with personal growth, a sense of community, a new appreciation for the little things in life and an all round unique adventure. I've learnt to be okay with the silence and the cluster of thoughts in my head. Beijing will always be my second home and life is slowly getting back to normal here. Perhaps the world needed something like this to happen, for us all to wake up and see how valuable our planet is and the human connections we make each and every day .” 

  • Rune Øster Mortensen, Denmark 

“The coronavirus has affected most people and in many different ways in Denmark. In the last two weeks, I've met just five people, attended an online beer tasting and a couple of online live concerts (with voluntary contributions to the musicians) and spent more time outdoors than I usually do. I was working in Sierra Leone and had planned to stay there for 2 months, so my Copenhagen room is currently being sublet. I'm therefore staying at my mother's farm and I think it's safe to say that the countryside corona situation is very different from the current situation that is shown on the media and that friends report from cities. Here, things look normal. There are no empty streets. We just shop for groceries more seldomly and don't stop by at the neighbours property. The crisis will inevitably have a negative impact on the economy on both a global and local scale, but I hope that many people can also have a positive experience, maybe spending more time alone - at least I'm enjoying/exploring that. Lastly, I am quite involved in the Danish folk music environment, and one of my main concerns is in fact the survival of the freelancing musicians and artists who so far have received very little economic relief from the government compared to more commercial and established fields of work.” 

  • Libre Lelliot, United States of America

“Here on the east coast, many are seen gardening and doing outside home improvements during the Covid-19 lockdown. A home improvement contractor says he is doing outside projects in an abundance of caution, expressing appreciation for the mild spring weather. Some say they’re sleeping more. Others report that they are cleaning, especially closets, drawers, places to which there is little time to give attention normally. Many are having Zoom cocktail parties.”

CV 3

  • Adolfo Castro, Colombia

‘At Yale-NUS College, a small liberal arts school in Singapore, Covid-19 has gradually restricted student club gatherings, sports practices, and most recently classes. Singapore’s first confirmed case was reported in mid-January, but the country has responded with fantastic contact tracing technologies that have allowed for a much slower spread and a relatively normal life for most. Up until today I was able to go to the cinema, visit malls and even go clubbing. More recently, gatherings of more than ten people have been forbidden and distancing is encouraged, but we are not under lockdown. Singapore’s effective policies have made this island a safe haven for its citizens and international residents, but despite this relative security there is increased worry about our family and friends who have undergone much stricter regulations and are still under a much higher threat.”

  • Luciana Fernandez, Argentina 

“I currently live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. As the news of coronavirus spread in Brazil started, I began paying attention to the measures the government was going to take. There was little initiative from the federal government and the pandemic was treated as something insignificant. I realized that my home country, Argentina, was going to close its borders and cancel all flights. I then decided to go back before it was too late. I have been completely isolated for the past week since the government declared it was mandatory for everyone. I am worried about Brazil due to some of the newest declarations the president has made, but also because its infrastructure, as with most countries in Latin America, is very obsolete, and it is not ready to handle a crisis like this one. At the same time, Sao Paulo currently has more than 24 thousand homeless people who are constantly exposed, and the government is not taking any responsibility for these people's health. There are countless examples of how the most vulnerable populations are being ignored. For instance, favelas in Brazil are very crowded spaces, and once the virus starts spreading it is not going to stop. I am hoping the local government will step in and take measures to ameliorate the consequences of the pandemic.”

CV 2

  • Lihn Do, Vietnam

“I’m currently in my hometown Hanoi, Vietnam. My country was quite quiet until the outbreak in Europe when people flooded home and the number of cases has risen drastically. I was in a mass quarantine camp myself (flying home amidst the cancellation of my studying abroad program in South Korea due to the country’s outbreak earlier this month) and I am so grateful for my government’s effort. I trust whatever they are doing in terms of policy and execution. For example, in Vietnam everyone is wearing mask, tries not to go out, works from home, practices hygiene and social distancing even before the government announces any lock down solution. Of course, the economy has been a sad scenario but in Vietnam we never have to struggle for food or necessities due to strategic regulations and guidance from the government. Also, the government has implemented tons of solutions to help everyone (we don’t have to pay for testing and treatment for COVID, there has been systematic online education scheme, there are insurance plans to help make sure people get pay if their works are delayed or cancelled). 

  • Jocelyn Montejo, Japan

“While working abroad and looking at the way this pandemic is being dealt with in my home country makes me feel that enough is not being done where I’m currently living. Speaking to my family back home and listening to how people are reacting and comparing it to my situation I’m definitely surrounded by a lot of people who don’t seem to see the virus as something to worry about. That reaction is frustrating since I feel I am putting myself in danger by having to still go to work and take public transportation still everyday. I’m hoping that people will take more care of themselves and think about the risk they are putting themselves, but most important, others in by not taking proper precautions.”

  1. Laura Haeck, Luxembourg 

“My life got turned upside down in January when I got an email from my school (UWC Changshu China) that I have to leave China immediately because of the impacts of COVID-19. I was in Nanjing, a city in Jiangsu province at that time because we had Chinese New Year holidays. I stayed in an Airbnb with two of my friends. I could not go and collect any of my stuff, which means all of my belongings are still in China, neither could I say goodbye to my friends or my boyfriend (because everybody had to leave immediately from wherever they were staying).

This had a huge impact on my emotional state, because I don't have closure from UWC and I still don't know if I will be able to return to get a graduation and to see all of my friends and the people in general. I believe the hardest thing is to just leave and not be able to say goodbye. To not have a proper closure is something that will follow me my whole life and will definitely affect some of my relationships that I have with people from UWC.” 

  1. Roie-Shaul Hillel, Israel

“Working as a social worker at a psychiatric hospital, I am mostly worried about my older clients. they are coping with some severe and persistent mental health issues, and are in a high risk of being infected. i think the things that it makes me appreciate the most are being able to take care of myself

in this crazy time and the privilege of having friends and family who help me in rough times.” 


It’s hard to cope with change in our lives, especially when we didn’t choose to have this change. Online Zoom classes don’t offer the closure or solace we need to see our friends, and staying cooped up with the same people can create tension. Every single person has a different living situation that is highlighted when there is a global pandemic. It is important not to panic, and to practice self-care during this historical event. Mental health matters, and most importantly, you matter. Even though we have to be six feet apart, we will be closer than ever after this is over. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, drink water, wear masks, social distance, and before we know it, we will see each other again. In person this time, not over Zoom.