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“I was afraid that Maastricht was headed in the same direction as Italy”

“I was afraid that Maastricht was headed in the same direction as Italy”

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Archive Bernardo Centofanti

Bernardo Centofanti from Rome is a master’s student of International Business who works as a tutor teaching the course Finance 1.5. Just before the university closed, he moved out of his semi-studio flat and into a student house with five others. They all decided to stay in Maastricht. “I can imagine why people who live alone or don’t have a garden would go back home. But staying here with friends in a big house with a large garden is better. I have more freedom here, too. Last Sunday, we all went for a bike ride and ice cream together. We also like to play football in the garden or have drinks together.”

Centofanti’s current living situation is also very beneficial to his studies and work. “One of my housemates recently completed the degree I am currently enrolled in. He helps me a lot. Another one of my housemates also works as a tutor. We discuss and prepare our classes together. I do miss my family, but staying here is better for my studies and work.”

Although Italy is the worst-hit country in Europe, none of Centofanti’s friends or family members have been infected with the coronavirus. “The situation wasn’t as bad in Rome, although the rules there are strict, too. Everyone has to stay inside; you can’t leave the house without a form stating your reason for being outside. In quiet areas, daily life is slowly returning to normal. Factories and small shops are reopening one by one. In Italy, people are now saying that the economic impact could be greater than the impact of the virus itself if we’re not careful.”

“I’m not worried about my family”, says Centofanti. “Rome has a good health care system and my parents and sister adhere strictly to the rules. I did worry when Maastricht University took a long time to announce that it was closing its doors. Hearing the news from Italy firsthand, I knew how bad the situation there was. I was afraid that Maastricht was headed in the same direction. My Italian friends and I considered skipping lectures. Fortunately, we didn’t have to.”

Centofanti is satisfied with the quality of the online tutorials he attends, although class discussions are less spontaneous now. “For example, you can’t quickly add to what someone else has said – you really have to wait and be given a turn to speak.”

His students almost always show up to the classes he teaches, even though attendance is not compulsory. “They usually let me know if they’re going to be absent. They often have practical reasons, like their sibling needing the computer.” This is his first time teaching this block, so he doesn’t know what the situation was like before the coronavirus outbreak. “I’m amazed at the features Zoom offers. I like the Share Screen feature. I use the cursor to make notes, kind of like writing on a whiteboard. I’m convinced that it is better to write down formulas live rather than putting them on a handout.”

What are these corona-days like for tutors and students? How does it affect their studies and other parts of their life? Observant speaks to one of them every day to give an idea about the virus' impact.

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