How were the students at CIHEAM Chania (Greece) affected by the lockdown?
Immediate thoughts once the restriction of movement was enforced in Greece
SERGEI: As a business student, I was aware of the risk of lockdown, because it was obvious the crisis was approaching us. But no one could predict the chaos that ensued - we could not make plans. My first thought was to go back home! In Russia, we have a saying that "at home, even the walls help you". But as I reviewed the situation, I realised from the available data that we were safe here. We are on an island, and the containment measures to slow the spread were very strict, especially concerning transportation.
Living the lockdown in the Institute
SERGEI: Greece did so much better than neighbouring countries. I really enjoyed spending my days in the many open spaces here, in the fresh air. I felt lucky that we had a beautiful large garden here. It helped so much.
Being far from family and friends
SERGEI: The impact of the measures in Russia was greater than in Greece. But I think I felt much safer here, whereas my family did not always feel safe in Russia where there was a lot of uncertainty. The measures in Russia were not so clearcut. Instead of talking about quarantine and lockdown, the state told people to be 'off work'!
SERGEI: When we face problems, we first have to find ways to satisfy our basic needs. We had a place to stay but we had to keep it safe. We had access to food, but it was served differently during the crisis. Instead of using plates, we could only have packaged food. The wifi is now a basic need. When it broke down, this felt like a crisis because we couldn’t communicate with our families, and we weren’t able to do our online courses. Communication is now a basic need in the global world.
Plans for the future
SERGEI: Initially, I wanted to return home. I felt that I had been away from my family for too long. But I now realise that I was lucky to have lived through the crisis in a beautiful place like Chania, in the safety of an island.
SERGEI: I really appreciated being surrounded by nature here. Most of my memories of this period will be of the CIHEAM Chania gardens and the beautiful sunsets, as I was able to appreciate the surroundings I found myself in.
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