The past couple of months were not easy. I had ups and downs, more downs to be honest. To be away from my country in the middle of an global virus outbreak was not what I imagined for my last semester as a master student at Linköping University. The thing is that every immigrant must deal with the reality of the country in which they resides and that of their country of origin. It is not just because I do not live in Brazil that I am not concerned with what is happening there.
In addition to the news from Brazil, I need to keep track of what is happening in Sweden, since it is the pandemic here that affects my most immediate reality. Living away from your friends and family it is especially hard in this time since they are an important part of your emotional support. Thinking about my hardships I decided to list below some things that have helped me and that maybe can help other people in the future. Being a student abroad can always demand we be prepared for situations like this (I hope not another global pandemic, but challenges to be faced with the same courage)
1. Limit the time you spend on the internet reading news or on social media, too much information can be a trigger for anxiety.
2. Use and abuse video calling resources, you can almost feel like you are close to that person you like so much. I spent countless hours sharing my afflictions with family and friends.
3. Also try to rely on your local network. Even if it is not very large, as it is sometimes difficult to establish deep bonds when you move, it is important that you have at least one person with whom to share your local context, something that perhaps those who are not living in the same country as you won’t understand.
4. Don’t push yourself to be productive. In a context of crisis, even in one that requires us to stay at home all day, the mental burden can take its toll. All of those concerns that I discussed above will affect your ability to work, and that’s fine. Respect your time and make room for a necessary adjustment without feeling guilty.
5. Don’t be afraid to share your situation with teachers and ask for help if needed. I was very open about my concerns and the teachers here were very open and understanding, I managed to extend deadlines and adjust schedules without any major problems.
6. Do things you like, and binge Netflix for a whole day doesn’t count. It is important to find things that will really ease your mind and bring you more energy. Go to the bottom of your soul and find out what these are.
I hope my reflections will warm someone up there. It is not easy, but this too shall pass.
Stay safe and healthy.