Elisabeth Hiller, a second-year student at University College Maastricht, spent the past two weeks at a fellow student’s house in The Hague. “She invited me to stay with her so I wouldn’t have to be alone if a total lockdown was announced.” As it doesn’t look like the Netherlands will go into a full lockdown, she will be going back to her flat in Maastricht this week. The flat is currently empty: her housemates from Italy and Germany have both gone back home to be with their families.
Hiller is from Ecuador. She stayed in the Netherlands “because I didn’t want to risk infecting my family. If I hadn’t been infected with the coronavirus yet, I could’ve caught it on the flight home. I think airplanes are some of the least safe places to be in the world right now. I feel quite safe in the Netherlands, though. I know I would be in good hands if I got sick here. My family members are worried about me, but they also know I’m probably better off here.”
“My three brothers, who also live in Europe, my parents and I call each other every other day. We talk for fifteen minutes on Skype to keep each other up to date. It’s fun. We never used to do that. It’s one of the positive things to come out of this crisis.”
Hiller misses her volleyball training sessions the most. “I used to exercise five times a week: training sessions with my team and walk-in sessions. Exercise is very important to my mental health. I picked up running when I was in The Hague. I’m not a huge fan of it, but I just need to sweat it all out and clear my head from time to time.”
Hiller had one test this last study period, but it was postponed. The next study period will be busier. She’s a bit worried about it. “The exam period is in late May. I’ll also have to move around that time, as my housemates ended our contract. They’ll stay with their families. Moving and taking exams isn’t a good combination, although I hope it won’t be too difficult to find a room as so many students have left Maastricht.”