Scenes from outside (and the return home)

Walking along the Maastricht marina.

By Katerina Grypma

Hey there! It’s been a while… and what have I been up to this year, I hear you ask? Well, I actually set off for my student exchange/ Europe trip on January 2nd, and I returned to Australia just recently- in late June. I’m currently writing this from a room of the Sydney Harbour Marriott hotel, where I’ve been living for the past 11 days as part of Australia’s quarantine requirements.

I had an amazing trip, reconnecting with family in rural France, studying, exploring and creating lifelong friendships in Maastricht, working on a small organic farm near Groningen and even squeezing in a decent amount of general travel and sightseeing around France, the Netherlands and even a bit of Germany. I honestly don’t feel like I missed out on anything due to the ‘rona, rather it feels like I was made to focus on different aspects of travelling and living abroad than expected. I know I was ridiculously lucky in my situation: being safe and having shelter, being financially stable and surrounded by wonderful, supportive people across Europe. In saying that, it feels so good to be (almost) home. Here I’m sharing some choice moments from my unusual time away, focussing on the lockdown period in Maastricht through some filmed testimonials from myself and my Maastricht friends about the experience of being an exchange student during the pandemic. 

Cheeky social distancing sign found on one of many long strolls through the streets of Maastricht.

Some symbolic snack moments (select photos to view captions):

A series of interviews with my Maastricht friends, talking about their experiences as exchange students during COVID-19.

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