Students from around the world tell COVID-19 problems

Hannah Weaver, Copy Editor

As the pandemic continues onward with no end in sight, citizens around the world are frustrated and upset with the upheavals to their everyday lives. In the United States, while protests are erupting across the nation in an effort to end necessary quarantine measures, students are struggling to keep up with the list of neverending online assignments and adjustments.

In the Ballard Community, we remain largely isolated. Our community hasn’t had to deal with the mental toll of seeing numerous pop-up morgues, mass graves, or the lines of body bags leaving homes and hospitals.

What are students from around the world seeing in their countries? Read below for the stories and observations of COVID-19 from the students of other nations.

*In an effort to protect their identities, many participants of this penpal group did not submit their last names or photos. For some, English is not their first language, and to keep the messages as accurate as possible, minimal grammatical changes have been made.

Kasra, 19, Iran

“I was going through my second semester of my university, but it’s all gone now. Here the government doesn’t tell the truth so it’s way worse than the picture they want other countries to see. Maybe about 100K cases or even more and about 7K deaths. It’s quite messed up. We’re not even officially quarantined. We stay home, still, there are people outside and the government may decide to open up stores and stuff because they may go bankrupt. That’s why I’m trying to leave ASAP! Yeah, we do have online classes as well, but those ain’t fun at all. But we kinda have to sadly.”

Leina, 16, China

“The virus is scary indeed and I feel sorry for those who lost their loved ones. They may seem like statistics, but to each family, they’re real people who mean a lot to them… I feel very grateful to the doctors, nurses and all the people who keep fighting and stay in their position. The contribution we can make is not to assemble with a lot of people, stay at home and wear a mask if we need to go out. I’m happy to see that there are kind people, willing to donate (no matter how much money or masks they provide because they earn different wages, this intention is already great). Also, I appreciate a lot celebrities who have a conscience and arouse their fans and all the people on social media to know the importance of staying at home, or they have a live-concert to make people feel less bored. It’s a global epidemic that we face together, so I hope we can all stay positive and strong. And I do believe things will get better and people will recover soon. We’ve started online high school for 5 weeks now. We remain at home. And received lots of messages about staying safe, like washing hands regularly, keeping the 2-meter-distance with people in case we need to go out. They’re some of my classmates who feel really bored, and want to restart a social life soon like going out with friends or to the mall, etc.  I miss my friends too, but I do enjoy this time at home, because I get the chance to think quietly and do a lot of meaningful things. I watch university online courses, read literature/ philosophy books or poetry,  practice instruments, write lyrics or thoughts.”

Elena, 16, Greece

“We take online classes now, although we had a rough beginning. The site created by the government for online classes couldn’t handle so many people logging in so we switched to Webex. Thankfully the students and the teachers adjusted almost instantly and we were able to pick up from where we left smoothly. The online classes aren’t as effective, but everyone is doing their best to engage with the class and that’s what counts.

We can only go out for essentials such as work, grocery shopping, exercise, walking the dog and, of course, emergencies. Greece implemented strict measures earlier than many in Europe, so we have a small advantage. However, our hospitals and doctors are struggling daily because there is a lack of equipment and rooms. Sadly, there are many groups spreading misinformation on social media and in real life. There are a lot of scams going on and many gullible people have been fooled. From oils that claim to cure the virus to hand sanitizers with questionable ingredients, you name it!”

Volkan, 18, Turkey

“We have a lot of infected people (34 Thousand 217), the virus has spread all over the country. The government wants people to go to work, so it’s not declaring a curfew, but the government banned who’s under 20 and above 65 declared curfew. They banned Intercity transportation. All social activities have been canceled. They want ‘Volunteer Quarantine’ to public and want the public to donate money to fight the virus (!???). Schools canceled by the end of April. İf [the] government keeps like that, probably we stay home more than a month. This year, we have [a] university exam and [the] exam has been postponed for a month. We don’t have online school (face to face), but we have a website to learn and study, it’s really good. The government banned zoom to public schools because they say ‘we have already website and we will add online class in website. Also, zoom have security bug.’ We don’t know if we can graduate. We don’t know anything about it.”