Maia On The Move: How Coronavirus Ended My Study Abroad

Before I even reflect on my time abroad and how upset I was to be sent home, I think it is important to acknowledge something. Many people are suffering and have situations much worse than me or you, but it is OK to be upset. This is a global pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we are not allowed to be disappointed about cancelled internships, concerts or vacations. This pandemic is affecting everyone to varying degrees and it isn’t easy on anyone. It is not a competition on who is suffering more. We are all in this together. It is normal to be upset about not being able to see your friends or missing graduation!

With that being said, I am losing my mind in this house! I have not spent this much time with my parents since I was six. It has been over one month since Boston University kicked me out of London. Before they announced that the program was ending, they gave students the choice to either leave or stay if they wanted. My friends and I said we were definitely staying. However, I was commuting an hour to my internship every day, and I was packed in the Tube with people who were coughing and sneezing. I would arrive at work and wash my hands, but I still felt really uncomfortable as the rate of the infected was growing in the U.K. by the hundreds each day. I started checking my emails constantly and monitoring the number of new cases developing. 

London was not fun anymore. I commuted, but I was scared. I went out with friends, but I was scared. I knew it was just a matter of time before our program would be canceled, especially after Boston University sent the Madrid program home. Dariy, my boyfriend, and I booked our tickets on a Thursday for the following Wednesday — giving us one more weekend to have fun and two days to pack. The day after we booked our flights, the program got cancelled. My friend from Boston flew out that weekend because it was her spring break (I can’t believe she still came). I had an amazing last weekend. I cried during my last walk through Hyde Park, but it was time to go home. 

Plane ride home with Dariy

I was most upset about the plans that I made to travel after the program was supposed to end. As I am writing this, in Stamford, CT, I am supposed to be in Morocco. Dariy and I were going to go to Marrakech, Rome and Nice before coming home. This was my first time in Europe. My family was never able to afford a trip before, so this was my opportunity to travel for cheap (or at least cheaper than before). After I graduate, I am going to be working, and I have no idea when I will be in a position to be able to take time off and travel. People always say that I will have the chance to travel, but no one can guarantee that. It’s hard not to feel robbed of my study abroad experience.

Painting (my cat is named ChiChi)

Since being back home, I have been working a lot. I continued my internship from abroad in the U.S. I really wanted to keep working and gain the internship experience that I can no longer have this summer. I reached out to the Guinness World Records office in New York, and they have been kind enough to let me intern with them. Currently, I am working four days each week unpaid, but I don’t mind, because I enjoy having a routine. It can be very easy to fall into a rut when you are stuck at home and unable to see people. Even if you have no history of mental illness, it can be easy to feel depressed right now. I didn’t want to write about leaving London without talking about how hard isolation has been on me. I know I am not the only one struggling right now, so I wanted to talk about how I have been staying sane.

Clay cow print earrings that I made

I have been making a lot of jewelry. I find that doing something creative, crafty or hands-on makes me feel better. It doesn’t have to be jewelry for everyone, obviously. People express themselves and create in a number of ways. I have been experimenting with clay and resin to make various types of earrings and necklaces. I have done some tie-dying, and I even made coasters for a friend of mine. I have been painting, which I am not great at, but I enjoy doing. These are just a few of the things I have done; you don’t need to be super artistic to do something artsy! Amazon sells really cheap but advanced paint by numbers, which are easy enough to follow and end up looking professional. Getting into acrylic pouring might seem super intimidating, but you can create some colorful abstract pieces with no art background. Now is also a good time to bake! I never bake normally, but I have been making brownies and cupcakes from scratch with my mom, and it has been really fun! 

One of the many things that I tie-dyed
Coasters that I made

While things outside are really horrible, I think we should take advantage of the free time and do something that we have always wanted to do! I am finally learning how to use the sewing machine I have had for years. It can be hard to feel motivated when you probably just want to lie in bed all day to sleep or watch Netflix, but we won’t have this much free time again for awhile. I want to take advantage of that and find the silver lining in this dreadful situation. If there is one thing you take away from this blog post (where I complain half of the time), it is to go do something. Find a new hobby, express yourself and have fun!

Playing beer pong with my mom
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Maia Luders, Study Abroad Correspondent

Maia Luders is a junior in the College of Communications studying Film and Public Relations. Maia also has a focus in English and enjoys reading and writing. She is currently studying abroad in London, England and interning for Guinness World Records as a Public Relations assistant. Maia is excited to travel and experience Europe for the first time. 

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