Hey y’all, I hope you are doing well. As the winter semester is walking to its end, it got me reflecting on my exchange year living in Germany, on how much I have grown and what I have learned from it so far. Then, I wanted to tell you about how being an exchange student during Covid-19 changed my mindset.
So, when I arrived here on the 1st of March, Corona was starting to spread around Europe. At that time no one would bet that the situation would get this bad, so I didn’t worry much and of course, I was full of expectations and plans for my year, trips, new friends, adventures, everything you think about when you decide to go abroad. And the first week was going well, until we were warned that all events had to be canceled and also the start of the classes was going to be postponed for a month and transferred for online education. At that moment I had no idea what to do, a lot of people went back to their homes, no one had an answer for any question and I felt lost and of course disappointed, but I decided to stay.
At that point, I was not sure if it was the right choice, but I was already here, I had already made the investment with my family and to be honest, it would get worse in Brazil too. It was just a matter of time. Then, the days went by, everyone was adapting to the new situation, and I decided to do the best out of it. I made the best decision I could have made at that moment: I chose to invest in myself instead of focusing on the frustration that I may have been feeling. I have to tell you; I don’t regret it at all. Every day I tried to connect back to my interests, to my hobbies, to let myself be and feel everything that I had forgotten along the way that my crazy routine in Brazil didn’t allow me to experience. And instead of wondering why Covid happened exactly the time I was abroad, I understood that it had to, we all had to be exactly where we were to learn things we would never do if life was going normal.
I am not saying that I am glad that Covid exists, way far from that. But what I mean is if it’s already here we either face it positively or negatively, it’s our choice. Well, after 9 months away, living the highs and lows every day far away from home and trying to make new friends virtually, I have learned things I will surely always take with me Things like how much I am grateful for the life I have, for being healthy and appreciate every little detail around me, as a beautiful sunset, a louder laugh, a delicious meal I made (especially because I was used to hate cooking), my time with the ones I love with physical contact and without phones or much technology. And the biggest lesson I took from it: Even though I plan my next steps, something could happen and right away could change everything, but it’s my choice to decide how I am going to face it and adapt to the new situation.
I really hope to always choose to remember the positive side of it, and I hope you do too, thank you for reading.
Maria Carolina is an International Management student from Brazil and currently studying for one year at DIT as a double degree student. She is part of ESN Deggendorf and Ceará Global project. She is passionate about life and how it goes for people all around the world. She is a nature lover especially when it comes to sunsets.