Exchange experience during covid-19 pandemic
Kamran M. Chaudhry, a 2nd year student of MA in Applied Social Psychology, on his experience of mobility to University of Bergamo during covid-19 pandemic
The opportunity to study abroad is very dynamic and incredible experience to boost personal and professional skills. After arrival at the Verona airport, I realized that this would be one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had to face. Everything was closed i.e. public transport, shops because of lockdown and covid 19 restrictions. It was scary, yet exciting, the nerves really kicked in that what is going to happen next?
It was definitely challenging for me to go through the initial weeks, however I learned so much about myself and it also helped me develop in so many different ways; I never thought I would be able to overcome these challenges on my own. I am now able to see it as a learning curve within my life. Besides we were expecting the life will go back to normal by Fall 20-21 but it didn’t happen. With the surge of corona virus cases the classes were transferred into online mode.
At HSE university virtual classes were easily accessible. However, at Bergamo university it was hard to find the courses on the eLearning platform at first, and lectures were overlapped which made it difficult for students to get along with the course of study. But with the help of teachers and recorded video lectures it became easy to cover the courses later. Even though study was online but the quality of education wasn’t compromised and there was opportunity to learn Italian language, also university library and public library near the city center of Bergamo was open to access.
Bergamo is close to a complete opposite type of city from Moscow, so it was definitely hard to adjust at first. Much of Moscow’s culture was centered on rich history, Museums, theaters, tallest skyscrapers, while Bergamo is a very small city in Italy nestled within the range of Orobic Alps, Venetian walls, cobblestone streets and ancient historical buildings. I had no problem meeting with new people, I came into the city not knowing anyone but left with lifelong friends with whom I get acquainted at the meet ups arranged by student bodies.
At last, amidst to the exchange program you are going to spend quality time, probably gain some weight, and experience some pretty uncomfortable/crazy situations, that will cherish you for the rest of your life, but it is so worth it.