Pabita Kister, a second-year UCM student, has been quarantined in her parents’ home in Düsseldorf since last Saturday. “It’s unclear whether I’ve been infected”, she emphasises. “I’m not showing any symptoms yet.” But one of her housemates in Maastricht was very likely infected with the coronavirus. “She hasn’t been tested, but she was showing all the symptoms.” The housemate is from Brabant, the worst affected region of the Netherlands, and celebrated Dutch carnival last month.
Last week, Kister’s housemate sent a message to their house group chat to let everyone know she was worried. “Another housemate and I went grocery shopping for her and left the groceries outside the door of her room. When I told my parents about this last Thursday – the Dutch government had just announced its new measures – they wanted me to come home. They picked me up last Saturday. They weren’t necessarily worried I’d get infected – we’re not that scared – but they’re worried the border between the Netherlands and Germany may be closed. And if I do get sick, it’s best to be home with my mum, of course.” She laughs.
For the time being, Kister can accomplish everything she needs to do for her studies online, even presentations. “For some of my courses, a presentation is part of the assessment. They let us choose between recording our presentations at home or sending in PowerPoint slides with a voice-over added.” Kister thinks it’s a good solution. “It’s both effective and safe.”
There are also advantages to being in quarantine. Kister is currently in the process of founding a consultancy business specialising in sustainability. “This gives me a lot of time to think about marketing and to look for potential business partners.”