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Leiden students share their corona experiences: ‘It started with a headache’

‘It started with a headache, like a hangover. So I didn’t really worry. But then the headache changed and my throat began to hurt too.’ Student Joy caught corona and had to quarantine with her housemates. Coronavirus has had a massive impact on our students – even if they haven’t fallen ill. Three students share their story.

Joy had corona: ‘It started with a headache, like a hangover’
Joy had corona: ‘It started with a headache, like a hangover’

Joy (21) had corona: ‘I’m glad I took it seriously and stayed inside despite only having mild symptoms.’

‘For me, it started with a headache, like a hangover. At that point I was doing intensive committee work with lots of drinks after, so it didn’t seem so strange. Then within a day I suddenly had a dry throat that I also thought I could explain: I’d been smoking quite a lot too. But when the headache suddenly started to feel different I thought “Uh-oh”. So I took a test and discovered that I actually had corona.

‘I felt really bad that my housemates had to quarantine because of me. I shut myself up in my room, whereas they could at least eat and play games together. But they were annoyed of course. They had to cancel everything for ten days. And you’re the culprit, even if unintentionally. It didn’t help that I could go outside sooner than them because at a certain point I no longer had any symptoms. I felt terribly guilty about that. I’m really glad I took it seriously and stayed inside despite only having mild symptoms. At least I didn’t pass it on to anyone else.’

Read Joy’s full story in Het Leids Kwartiertje (in Dutch)

Murray (19): ‘It’s especially difficult as an international student, but I’ve managed to settle in’

‘It was strange and daunting to go through with my decision to move from South Africa to The Hague for my studies at Leiden University. The lack of face-to-face teaching – and therefore meeting people in person – makes it extra difficult as an international student. How do you make friends? But I’ve managed to settle in, thanks also to the help of my incredible orientation week guides. And lots of people are open to meeting new people, which helps.

‘I expected online learning to be difficult as it’s so different from what I had done at school. At home in South Africa I never used a laptop at school, whereas now I’m always working on one. But my expectations were different from reality: I thoroughly enjoy online learning. And it’s an advantage that I have the freedom to work according to my own schedule. I can now fit my studies in with my friends from other courses as well as my busy hockey schedule. I do miss sitting with friends in class though.’

Murray was interviewed about his experiences as a first year in The Leidener, our blog for and by international students. Read the full interview

Rosalyn saw her exchange to Japan go up in smoke: ‘I had a good cry’
Rosalyn saw her exchange to Japan go up in smoke: ‘I had a good cry’

Rosalyn (27) saw her exchange to Japan go up in smoke: ‘I had a good cry’

‘I’m studying Japanese, and the exchange in Japan is an important part of the programme. It’s essential for your language skills. I’d worked really hard for this exchange, but heard in April that it had been cancelled. And I had my exams immediately after that news – it was a really difficult time. Luckily, I managed to pass them somehow. Now that university has started again, I try to keep to a fixed schedule: on days with classes I only take those classes and don’t do any homework but do small, fun things instead. Friday to Sunday is reserved for homework. Some days are just really hard – I cry a lot to be honest. But I accept that those days happen and hope that the next day will be better.

‘Dressing up brightens my mood, so I make sure to put on a nice outfit every day. I discovered Lolita fashion when I was 16, and fell head over heels in love. It’s a fashion style from Japan that takes its inspiration from the Victorian and Rococo periods. It has lots of cute elements. The style makes me feel beautiful and happy when I wear it, and that helps me get through the bad days!’

Rosalyn shared her story in a takeover on our Instagram account. Check out her story on Instagram

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