Back in April, we published Fulbrighters’ responses to a single question: “How are you finding ways to cope with quarantine and COVID-19 stress?” We had so many responses that it seemed only right, as the COVID crisis stretches on, to publish a part 2. Many things have changed over the past month, but the resilience shown by Fulbrighters around the world continues to inspire us. Here are their stories:
“Like all of you, I’ve discovered the importance of having a schedule. Every day I try to write and to play music, even if just for half an hour each. Besides that, I edit the documentary I was filming as my Fulbright project–while my Fulbright this year in Italy was cut short by Covid-19, I still hope to finish the documentary however possible! I also try to speak on the phone to friends back in Italy and to watch movies in Italian so my language skills don’t get rusty.”
–Kay Bontempo, 2019-2020 Fulbright Student Researcher to Italy, University of Naples Federico II
“I’ve been doing yoga everyday (started with a 30 day challenge) and added virtual workouts to my routine with friends in grad school. It’s been really great for me. I feel good about investing in my well-being, so that keeps me motivated to stay consistent. It’s also an easy enough task to achieve each day so I feel accomplished! I also go on daily walks with my family.”
– Chiamaka Ukachukwu, 2017-2018 Fulbright Student Researcher to Belgium, University of Louvain
“I’m an English teacher/department head at a private high school in Izmir, Turkey. Because of the pandemic, online teaching and meetings basically occupy almost all the time I have nowadays. One disadvantage is that I bring more work home, but the best thing about online teaching is becoming more organized. I’m already loving it. In addition to that I’m planning to re-collaborate with academics and colleagues to write more about using technology while teaching languages.”
–Merih Sumpter (Izmir, Turkey) , 2004-2005 Fulbright FLTA to the U.S., University of Texas, Austin
“I’m in Spanish and Arabic classes and am starting a new UX/UI course soon!”
–Jade Graddy, 2015-2016 ETA to Amman, Jordan
“Fitness is so important for me, so everyday I will do spin and strength training. It clears my head and allows me to effectively study for the day….and every weekend since quarantine I DJ (disco, house, R&B) through Zoom and Facebook live to allow myself and others to find connection during this potentially isolating period.”
– Emmanuel Akpan, 2014-2015 ETA to Cyprus
“Going for a walk in the morning before I start to work from home. While I’m walking I will usually listen to a podcast (Armchair Expert, Future Perfect, Radiolab are my go-to podcasts).
I also make it a point to try to catch up with friends or family on the phone once a day. I just pick a different friend or family member to call and catch up with them. Usually I am walking as I am talking on the phone! This gives me something to look forward to after work is over.
I also am trying to read more instead of just binging everything on Netflix (which is also still happening) so I try to alternate between reading and watching Netflix each night.”
–Alyssa Brady, 2018-2019 ETA to Macedonia
“The destruction of COVID on society seems to grow each day, so my coping strategy is to pretend I’m still on sabbatical. I write, read, go for walks and recently watch and take pictures of birds at our new bird-feeder that my wife bought me. I find myself on Zoom about half the day teaching, meeting with students, and trying to keep things moving professionally.
I also have been making mental notes on the academic advice floating around and notice that it fits into two camps – the carpe diem folks – do something new, creative, be productive and stay healthy – and the doom sayers – how can you expect to manage anything during a global pandemic, quarantine, social isolation crisis, needing to home school and take care of staying sane?
I personally resonate with the doom sayers that we are delusional (especially with regards to expectations of our students), but realize that I’m part of the fortunate class that can work from home, has a job, and my health so try to make the best of it each day and support my family, students, colleagues, institution and profession as best I can.”
-Mark Moldwin, 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S.- Norway Arctic Chair, Birkeland Centre for Space Science (Bergen, Norway)
“I’m in Santiago, Dominican Republic in a 7th floor apartment with a lovely view of mountains to the north. The view is even better from the roof. Every day I climb the fire-escape stairs and then a ladder to watch the sunset from 10 stories up.
There are no buildings of a comparable height nearby so I look out on the whole city. The wind and the open space clear my mind. I have a few rooftop friends, none close enough to talk or shout, but we wave.
Over the last 35 days (and counting) I’ve watched the sun set slightly further north and slightly later every day. I wonder if I’ll be here at the solstice, to see how far north it moves? I’ve never felt so connected to the rhythms of the sun or the seasons. It’s the best part of my day.”
–Edward Morgan, 2018-2019 U.S. Fulbright Scholar, New Bulgarian University (Sofia, Bulgaria)