Back to the Netherlands, Back to Normalcy
With the travel ban having been lifted by the Dutch government on 15th June, a few students and staff of Wittenborg have since left their homelands and returned to the Netherlands. Wittenborg News caught up with a staff member and a student to find out more about their experiences and perspectives of the COVID-19 situation.
How was your experience staying in your home country during this pandemic?
For Wittenborg's Communications & Events Coordinator, Nadia Zaman, it was unfortunate (or fortunate) that she left the Netherlands on the 28th February for her hometown in Malaysia to attend her brother's wedding. When she arrived, the Malaysian Movement Control Order (MCO) was imposed and she had to observe a 14-day quarantine in her own room. "It was very strange. Malaysia is such a lively country and it took me some time to adjust," said Zaman. Despite having daily Zoom workout sessions with her friends and taking up the Ukulele to fill her time, not having physical contact with others for a long period of time was not fun for her.
As for MBM Human Resources Management student, Sarani Ayesha Wijesundara, she was called back home by her parents when the pandemic struck, and returned to Sri Lanka on 15th March, 2020. Although she could not go out for the last 3 months due to the curfew, she was glad that she had returned home. She thoroughly enjoyed being with her family as she had not seen them for quite a long time due to her study in the Netherlands.
"Don't put your targets on hold due to the pandemic." Sarani Wijesundara
Zaman returned to the Netherlands on 19th June to get back to work at Wittenborg. When asked how she felt, Zaman said that she was happy to be back in the Netherlands and back to her life before the pandemic. Her family is, of course, worried that she is here alone, but she will just have to stay safe and keep herself healthy here. For Wijesundara, she came back to the Netherlands on 17th June to apply for an internship. She believes that going back to the normal routine is what we all need and we should not hold back our own targets that we have set for ourselves just because of the pandemic.
To both Zaman and Wijesundara, the pandemic is a wake-up call for them to really take care of themselves as nothing else really matters other than their health and wellbeing. Zaman said she would feel better if the virus were under control, although she doesn't have any problem with social distancing, wearing a mask or even staying at home if it means that she will be safe. She now makes time for her hobbies, exercises more and eats better food (or at least she tries). For Wijesundara, observing hygiene and safety protocols is becoming second nature to her, as it has for many other people around the world.
Do you think this pandemic has upended our lifestyles or do you think it is a blessing in disguise?
Both Zaman and Wijesundara believe that the pandemic is a blessing in disguise. "I feel sad for those who have lost their loved ones to this virus. But the blessing is that we are forced to slow down and see what actually matters to us. Also, the decline in pollution and emissions are things to be thankful for," said Zaman. Wijesundara opines that people now realise that there is more to life than money and that health is actually their wealth. She agrees with Zaman and said that the decline in pollution and emissions are helping Mother Earth to heal, and that is a positive thing.
How do you hope to spend the summer in the Netherlands?
Wijesundara hopes to get an internship so that she can spend her summer fruitfully. She encourages her friends to obey the rules that the Dutch government has set and believes that together we can defeat the pandemic. On the other hand, Zaman hopes to enjoy the summer from the comfort of her own home here in Apeldoorn. She encourages her fellow colleagues and friends to take care of themselves, stay vigilant always and she believes that all this is just a temporary phase.
by Hanna Abdelwahab
©Wittenborg University Press