It is with a heavy heart that I share my Erasmus experience in Paris has come to an abrupt end. Like thousands of other Erasmus students I have returned to my home country to self-quarantine. The whole situation is quite surreal. But I feel it was the best step for me to take in case this crises lasts several months.
As universities, schools, museums and all non-essential businesses such as bars and restaurants were closing throughout France I took the decision to leave. In the week leading to my departure I was giving and getting almost hourly updates in my family group chat. When Sciences-Po announced its closure I looked about leaving France. We thought it would be best to leave as soon as possible in case France follows Poland, Denmark and Spain in closing its borders. Fortunately Sciences-Po would be organising online classes and exams.
It was bizarre going through Orly airport when no member of staff would actually handle my boarding pass or passport. I thought about how many casual interactions we could have with so many people throughout one day. I became aware of using my card, touch screens, the tray on the plane and even the in flight magazine.
If you are travelling or even something ordinary like shopping you can have dozens of contacts. This can direct close contact with people or indirectly through a surface, handling money ect. It is almost impossible to avoid contact with people. To avoid putting yourself or others at risk you need to self-isolate.
If like me you have been put in a situation where you are forced to travel you should read the HSE’s information and guidelines about Coronavirus and Travel.
I am currently back home with my family which is great. I’m awaiting news about the scheduling of my online classes and assessment. I am of course sad that I had to leave especially without saying goodbye to so many people. But I’m glad knowing that by staying at home I can protect myself, my family and the most vulnerable. I made the right decision to return home for myself and others- and a decent cup of tea.
If you need a cute distraction from the whole situation why not self-isolate and check out some cute alpacas I saw in Clare?
Stay safe, wash your hands and look after the vulnerable.
Until next time,
-The Student Explorer