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"I feel lonely sometimes”

"I feel lonely sometimes”

In March, master’s student of Strategic Marketing Belén Sánchez Ortigosa was faced with a difficult dilemma: should she get on a plane to Madrid to be with her family, or stay in Maastricht during the lockdown? She chose the second option. “I had to act very quickly. More and more flights were getting cancelled. I think I made the right decision, but I miss my family a lot. I feel lonely sometimes.”

The last time Sánchez Ortigosa was in Spain was during Christmas. “My parents were supposed to come visit me in the Netherlands for Easter, but that’s when everything went crazy. I didn’t feel comfortable going back to Spain, either. The situation there was a lot worse than it was here. Airports are high-risk areas. I was afraid I would catch the virus and infect my parents.” Now that the situation appears to be under control, she would like to go back to Madrid soon. “I’m already looking at flights. I hope to be able to fly back in July, so I can spend the summer with my family.”

Is she planning to return to the Netherlands after the summer? “I won’t come back until I have a plan. I was supposed to follow a programme including an internship and a thesis, where your thesis topic depends on your internship research. The internship often results in a job offer. Due to the coronavirus crisis, I couldn’t find a spot anywhere. I’m working on my thesis anyway, but I’m also looking for an internship to gain work experience.”

The crisis has also brought about positive things for her. “I love being around people. Suddenly, that was no longer possible. I now try to spend more time alone. I started playing the guitar again and I’m reading more. And if I do feel like being social, I call my friends. Fortunately, my housemates all stayed in Maastricht as well. We’re actually spending a lot more time together.” What is one of her favourite quarantine activities? “Doing online pub quizzes! Especially when they’re about films or random facts.”

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