Abroad in the Time of Corona

Kelly Knickerbocker

In more ways than one, this semester was not anything like I had expected. Going into my semester abroad in Dublin, my biggest concerns consisted of figuring out public transportation, finding my way around a city I had never been to before, and navigating an entirely new school system. The potential of there being a global pandemic was certainly the last thing on my mind. 

The middle of March is a blur to me. I was sitting in a pub on Camden Street on March 11th when the news hit that President Trump was banning travel of foreign nationals to the United States. Two days later, my study abroad program announced that they were shutting down all of their European study groups. Not two days after that, on March 15th, I was sitting in the Dublin airport with all of my belongings and a plane ticket that cost most of my savings (prices of tickets sky-rocketed after the travel ban was announced). The whole experience was completely surreal, as it only took four days for my time abroad to become completely unravelled. 

Since then, I have been social distancing in my home in New York, attempting to make sense of my remaining month or so of online classes (just as all of my fellow Trinity students have been doing). I have never taken an online class, and have only been taught in a classroom setting, so as you might imagine this has been a time of major change and growth for me. 

One resource that has been a saving grace to me, however, is my history tutor. Despite there being an ocean between us, she has been an incredible help to me and has been unwavering in her support. As she is a PhD candidate herself and has other students to tutor, her timely responses to my questions and genuine interest in how I’m holding up have not gone unnoticed, especially in a time when she has a lot on her plate, as well. 

It is these relationships that, when I reflect back upon my time abroad, I will be forever grateful for. Even though my time in Dublin was cut in half, I will never forget the people that had a positive impact on my experience at Trinity, whether it was on the physical campus or from thousands of miles away.

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