It was not a great start for us and the international buddies to meet each other. Courageous students from all different countries came to our little Belgium to explore our culture and got introduced in schools and work places. But that Covid-19 monster, to stay in the Halloween theme, disrupted our the normal way of meeting.
At first I thought that the international project would not start because of the pandemic situation in the whole world. From September onwards, the figures started to go back in the bad direction. when I heard that the international project became part of our evaluation of one of our programme components I was quite surprised that some students had the courage to travel to Belgium to discover our culture. I was also excited to take part of the adventure.
Nevertheless, it was not possible for me to be present at the start of the project for different reasons. I do team sports in my spare time, I play tennis twice a week and after school I work in a sports cafeteria. I also do some volunteer work, for example I give gymnastics lessons to toddlers on Saturday mornings. this also requires some preparation. So I did not have a lot of leisure time. For example I wanted to join the group to Bobbejaanland on 18 October, but I had to play a tennis match that day. This was pretty much the only activity organised this month.
The last few weeks, the pandemic has not improved, quite the contrary. The figures are worse than during the first peak in March. So the government has to take stronger measures. For example, we are not allowed to do outdoor activities with more than 4 people and we should try to limit our contacts. All the restaurants and cafés are closed and what could be better than getting to know each other with a drink and a snack?
the schools have also switched to code red so we are no longer able to go to campus. all classes are online. Many activities take place in Geel or other cities where a Thomas More campus is located, but for students who do not live in these cities, it is not easy to get there every time. Especially now with the stricter measures.
Because of these restrictions, it is also difficult and less fun for international students to explore Belgium. They are locked up in their student rooms and have hardly any social contact, so now we are trying to focus on online and outdoor activities, such as quizzes, online escape rooms and city games where people can move in groups of 4.
Now the catering industry and all the indoor sports are suspended, I have more time to participate in international projects. Hopefully we can continue like this in the next few months and have a good time together, despite the annoying situation.