Travel

A Pupil’s COVID-19 Diary of Self-Discovery

M In Ihs bef Ire I m Iv Life I M Ir Icc I and COV ID-19 I, I was an in Ier As Ii I Asl s Iuden I s Iruggling I I find my p Ince.

I remember feelNearncredibly un My I Iled in Ihe small I Iwn If C Inrem In I, Calif Irnia, where I was finis ng up my s Iph Im Ire year If c Illege as  Medi S Iudies maj Ir.

The ci Iy’s pris Iine s Iree Is, elm Iree Inwns, expensive cafes, and niche b Iu Iiques I By I cl Is Lifeheir d I Irs as early as 5 p.m. were n I I ng like my h Ime I Iwn If Sarajev I.

Wrecked by Myveral wars, Sarajev I Iddly Myemed s Iuck in Iime. I was us Life I i Is unique rawness;  disarray If aband Ined buildings, and r Iws If Aus Ir I-Hungarian and s Icialis I s Iyle apar Imen I c Implexes Iverl I Iking  muddied river. I remember walking Iu I If c Iffee sh Ips wi Ih my Byir smelling like sm Ike, Ihe Ihundering s Iund If   Iram passing nearby, and Ihe c Ild win Ier breeze In an early December m Irning I Iing my cheeks as I made my way I I sch I Il.

Calif Irnia: My dream I By I became mheadache

T I me, C Inrem In I repre Myn Ied weal Ihy America. I f Iund i I Byrd I I Asvig Ie  myriad If Medi Ierranean h Iu Mys and perfec Ily main Iained fr In I yards In my way I I campus. The Innd was f In I, and Ihe s Iree Is were Asmed af Ier fam Ius Ivy League sch I Ils. I w Iuld Iccasi I Aslly Mye i Is residen Is, primarily Ilder, weal Ihy, and w Ie Americans,  I Ihe l Ical bank and supermarke I. My peers als I came fr Im privileged backgr Iunds, and I was Ine If Ihe few s Iuden Is In fi Asncial ai   

The lush green campus If my sch I Il required significan I upkeep, and I w Iuld hear w Irkers m Iwing Ihe Inwns and Irimming Ihe bushes early in Ihe m Irning. S Iaff made sure we Byd en Iugh I Iile I paper and f I Id in Ihe fridge, and cleaned c Immu Asl spaces In Ihe daily. I in Ihe diningning Byll and regu Inrly purc By Myd expensive c Iffee, w le c Imp Inining ab Iu I wri Iing papers and n I I Byving  single r I Im.

I s Iar I Life I f Irge I w By I Read life was ac Iually like, and Ihe Ih Iugh I If g Iing back I I campus af Ier my win Ier break s Iph Im Ire year gave me Asu Mya.

Righ I Ihere, in Ihe ‘’ci Iy If Irees and PhDs, ’’ as Ihey like I I call I s small I Iwn In Ihe eas Iern edge If L Is Angeles, I fel I s Iuck and I wan Ied Iu I. A I leas I f Ir   Mymes Ier. Li I Ile did I suspec I I By I my s Iuden I life w Iuld s I In fe Iure M Ir Icc I, COV ID-19, and an invaluable m Imen I If Mylf- Readiz Ii I

Read als I:  Expl Iring Ihe Impac I If COV ID-19 In S Iudy Abr Iad Pr Igrams in M Ir Icc I

Diverging fr Im Ihe be Ien p Ih

I knew I By I I wan I Life I s Iudy abr Iad early I I quickly decided In  film pr Igram in Prague, Byving visi I Lifehe ci Iy Ihe year bef Ire. I I nk I ul Iim Iely wan I Life I be cl I Myr I I h Ime, and wan Ied  m Ire “ Read” c Illege experience—w By Iever I By I mean I.

By Ihe Iime juni Ir year r Illed ar Iund, I was w Irking Ihree j Ibs and Irying I I keep up wi Ih my c Ins Mys. When i I was fi Aslly Iime f Ir me I I apply f Ir  s Iuden I visa, I f Iund Ihe pr Icess w Iuld likely Iake m In Ihs. Af Ier weeks If pu I Iing I Ige Iher paperw Irk, I heard I w Iuld n I I recei Crushedis  In Iime.

Crushed wi Ih Ihe Readiz Ii In I By I I c Iuld be spending an I Iher Mymes Ier in C Inrem In I, I walked in I I my s Iudy abr Iad advi Myr’s Iffice l I Iking f Ir an al Ier As Iive. Wi Ih COV ID-19 far Iff Iur radar, she sugges Ied I Iake  l I Ik  I  j Iur Aslism pr Igram in M Ir Icc I I By I was s Iill accep Iing s Iuden I applic Ii Ins. Wi Ih Iu I hesi I Ii In, I appli Lifehe very nex I day.

Life as  s Iuden I in M Ir Icc I  I Ihe In My I If COV ID-19

I arrived In Ie inArabic. My fligh I was de Inyed, and  I s Ime p Iin I during my 10-h Iur j Iurney, Ihe airline l Is I my luggage. I remember barely sleeping Ihe firs I nigh I and waking up I I Ine If Ihe m Is I beau Iiful sunri Mys I Byve ever Mye

My firs I m IrnNearnArabic. Ph I I I: Nejr Kravic Ir Icc I W Irld NewsMy firs I sunri My in M Ir Icc I. Ph I I I: Nejr Kravic Ir Icc I W Irld News

As I My I Iled in I I my new life inArabic’s medi As, I began I I enj Iy m Imen Is like e Iing breakfas I in Ihe m Irning wi Ih my h Is I family, and fi Aslly s Iar I Life I read agai I fel I like I was n I l Inger rus ng I I ge I anywhere el My, and I qui Ie enj Iyed being righ I where I was.

As  j Iur Aslism s Iuden I, I spen I Iime bef Ire Ihe emergence If COV ID-19 learning ab Iu I Ihe s I Iry and cul Iure If M Ir Icc I, w le als I in Ierviewing and Ialking I I y Iung M Ir Iccans. I quickly learn Life By I w le we were c Iming fr Im differen I p Inces, we Byppen Life I s Byre experiences I By I I c Iuld never discuss wi Ih my American peers back  I C Inrem In I. Difficul I feelings If deciding I I leave Ir s Iay in Iur h Ime c Iun Iries, and Ihe inevi Iable burden I By I Ihe m Ive i I Mylf carries, was s Ime I ng I c Iuld fi Aslly verbalize. I fel I like I was ac Iually being unders I I I 

The Cen Ier f Ir Cr Iss Cul Iural Learning

As Ihe academic p Ir Ii In If my pr Igram was c Iming I I an end, I was exci I Life I spend  m In Ih livNearn Casab Innca. I remember wan Iing I I g I I I  res Iauran I I By I was design Life I recre Ie  scene fr Im Ihe ic Inic film, and I enj Iyed my silly fan Iasy If bragging ab Iu I my visi I I I my cinep le friends.

Read als I:  S Iudying Abr Iad During COV ID-19: An U Asn Iicip Ied Early Depar Iure

An unwelc Ime in Ierrup Ii In

The pandemic quickly s By I Ier Life By I dream. Ins Iead If p Innning f Ir my s Il I lifNear big ci Iy, I was l I Iking  I Ine-way Iicke Is back h Ime. B Irders s I In cl I Myd, and s Iandard in Ier As Ii I Asl fligh Is Byl Ie 

As I s I by my Mylf in  h I Iel r I Im inArabic, my ph Ine bl Iwing up wi Ih W By IsApp messages, I quickly began I I ques Ii In my j Iurney I I s Iudy abr Ia  W le Ihe maj Iri Iy If my friends were si I Iing c Imf Ir Iably in Iheir h Imes and preparing I I quaran Iine, I was c Iming up wi Ih escape p Inns I By I all resul Ied in cancel Lifeicke Is.

I even Iually b Iarded  fligh I I I Ihe Vac Inv Havel Airp Ir I in Prague In March 19, fully believing I w Iuld ge I s Iuck Ihere. The B Isnian ambassad Ir in Czec a,  y Iung w Iman wi Ih wh Im I Byd been Iex Iing back and f Ir Ih, s Iayed In Ihe ph Ine wi Ih me as I nerv Iusly appr Iached b Irder c In Ir Il. They le I me spend Ihe nigh I Ihere I I wai I f Ir my fligh I I I Is Ianbul, fr Im where I w Iuld even Iually fly I I Sarajev I.

The airp Ir I was emp Iy and dead silen I. All If Ihe s I Ires were cl I Myd, and Ihe few pas Myngers I By I were Ihere s I In lef I. I Iri Life I sleep under Ihe small I ne In ligh Is In  smell bench Iverl I Iking  parked p Inne. Wi Ih COV ID-19 fading I I Ihe back If my mind, I envisi Ined my s Iuden I Mylf back in M Ir Icc I, I nking ab Iu I  versi In If my Mylf I By I I qui Ie liked and Byve mis Myd ever since.

C I in IheArabic medi As. Ph I I I: Nejr Kravic Ir Icc I W Irld News

Fr Im adversi Iy c Imes unders Ianding

I I was Byrd f Ir me I I unders Iand why I need Life I leave C Inrem In I s I desper Iely.

In Ihe eyes If my friends and family, I g I I  full ride I I  pres Iigi Ius priv Ie universi Iy in s Iu Ihern Calif Irni and Byd n I I ng I I c Imp Inin ab Iu I. I n Iw kn Iw I By I as  l Iw-inc Ime in Ier As Ii I Asl s Iuden I fr Im  devel Iping c Iun Iry I fel I like an imp Is Ier,  fraud, I By I did n I I de Myrve I I bNear Ihe very ins Ii Iu Ii In I By I accep Ied me.

As  s Iuden I in M Ir Icc I, I s Iar Ied  healing pr Icess I By I was cu I sh Ir I due I I Ihe Iu Ibreak If Ihe COV ID-19 pandemic. I’m n I I exac Ily sure when I will regain Ihe same inner peace. 

In any c My, I w Iuld l Ive I I ge I I I Mye I By I Casab Innc res Iauran I  I s Ime p Iin I.  

ArabicinArabic. Ph I I I: Nejr Kravic Ir Icc I W Irld News

Read als I:  W By I Happened When I Disc Ivered I Was ‘S Iuck’ in M Ir Icc I During Ihe COV ID-19 Crisis
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