COVID-19 Lockdown Across the Globe: Stories of Hope

The highs and lows of quarantine during the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of the Cardiff University international student community.

It goes without question that the penultimate stop that the COVID-19 virus brought to each and every one of our lives was final and without warning. The normalcy of everyday life ceased to exist in the blink of an eye. The people we saw and spent time with day-in and day-out ceased to exist. The Coronavirus brought with it endless doom and gloom. However, within this time of great difficulty where heartache and loss seemed to thrive, this article serves as a reminder that even in the mundane, beautiful things can happen around the world in different ways and means.

The following are short excerpts from fellow students at Cardiff University sharing how life has been in the respective homes across the globe. We hope these stories serve as an encouragement and reminder that you are not alone in the time of COVID-19, that we are all in this together, despite our differences, we persevere.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

By Joelle Daher

This might seem like an odd picture… but it was a day that really stuck out to me during the COVID-19 quarantine. It was Easter and normally we would have family and friends over to celebrate and stuff our faces with my Mom’s “Bacalhau Spiritual” (a dish she makes once a year that’s typical for Brazilian Easter). Of course, due to quarantine rules, we had to spend Easter alone, just me, my parents, brother and dog. We imagined that it wouldn’t feel like Easter or that we wouldn’t have as much fun, but instead, it ended up being one of the best Easter celebrations we’ve had. We played our family egg games, painted the eggs, ate a lot, played board games and watched religious-themed movies that turned out really interesting. At the end of the day I realized that even though I’m really close to my family and we already spend a lot of time together, quarantine helped me to get to know them even more… it shined a new light on our relationship because we were together 24/7. There were some really tough moments when we wanted to just kill each other, but there were moments where we connected on an even deeper level and forged a stronger relationship. I’m grateful for having had that time with them because living abroad means I don’t know when I’ll ever have the time I had to spend with them as I did during quarantine. So I’m grateful to have had extra time with my family because they’re the most important thing to me.

New Delhi, India

By Ayushi Sabharwal

Initially when I came back to India from Cardiff, I did a 14-day quarantine to make sure that my parents were safe and to ensure that, if I had any sign of the virus and was asymptomatic, I would not give it to my friends, family and parents. Quarantine in India has been hard. I think it’s a feeling that none of us have ever known. The day that I completed my self-0isolation of 14-days, India went into complete lockdown. People were not even allowed to leave the house to exercise. Initially, the whole idea of just staying at home took a great toll on my mental and my physical health. I think being with my family gave me so much comfort. I started to bake a little.
I just took time off for myself, which I had been wanting to do since I started University. One new habit that I started during quarantine was baking and one new habit that I have started now is actually cycling because we’re allowed to go out of our house now. Although things are so confusing at the moment, I am finding joy in the small things.

Queensland, Gold Coast, Australia

By Bianca Eden

The thing that has helped my mindset during lockdown has been being able to go for a walk or hike. This simple act has helped with maintaining my sanity of otherwise being in lockdown and now being able to do the usual things. This image was taken in Springbrook National Park which is significant to Australia as there are so many beautiful national parks that have so much nature and life inside of them. National parks also have a deeper meaning to indigenous Australians that go back thousands of years. By going on hikes like these I was also able to keep my health and fitness levels up which contributed a lot positively impacting my mental health during such a trying time. Seeing how nature was so unaffected from COVID-19 and was almost healing itself from the lack of human activity and contribution made it feel like there were positive things to come out of lockdown even if they didn’t directly affect me. This photo has further significance through the rainbow that appears from the light reflection which is a reminder that things will eventually get better and that there are more bright and colourful days ahead.