COVID19 experiences from Bratislava in the Slovak Republic

Hello there! I am a student of physiotherapy at the Slovak Medical University, living in Bratislava. The COVID-19 situation got worse by March 9 and ever since then, all the students from all types of schools, universities and kindergartens are staying at home. We are at home for the 9th week now. Both of my parents work as tax advisors and they work from home. They go to work only when they need to. My dad says he is now going to work to relax.

For me it was a quite unpleasant change. Normally, I would wake up early in order to go to the hospital for physiotherapy practice. In the afternoon go to classes and lectures and in the evening to practise. I would come home after nine o’clock and go straight to bed. I remember the first week of the quarantine felt like on holiday. But then when the online classes began and teachers started to send us the assignments…

I am sure I have done much more at home that I´d have at school.  The online classes are interesting, of course. But as physiotherapists we need to practice and feel the body, and these online calls with our teachers do not provide everything we need to learn. It took me quite a long time to learn how to manage my days. The university will definitely stay closed till September and therefore I continue homeschooling myself since I will have my final exams online.

I must say, the first weeks were hard for the whole family but we try our best and somehow it works. The very first weeks were the worst for me. Have to stay at home surviving day by day.  We live near a forest and so I am there almost every day. You can go for walks or bike rides since there are no restrictions about your movement inside the country. Restrictions were only imposed on coming back to Slovakia. You either need to have a negative test for COVID-19 or you go to a two-week long national quarantine, so people do not leave the country as much as they used to. Another reason for this is that some other countries (as i.e. the Czech Republic) do not let non residents in. For example we are not able to visit our second half of our family that is living in Czech Republic. We skype with them every day but still miss them a lot since we used to spend almost every other weekend there.

I believe that this situation brings more benefits than drawbacks for families. Finally, we have time to play cards, talk and spend more time together. When I have enough of them, I close my room’s door and do the things which need to be done for school. In the past two weeks the Slovak government has decreased the number of restrictions. Slovakia has lowest number of infected people at all, so there is a conversation about opening the borders for summer. I was very surprised that people were following the strict rules and were really organized. After all this is over, I hope people will get more ,,people-ish´´, polite, less nervous and will understand that there is nothing as important as health and safety.

I have realized that the only thing I want is to be free and I am.  Only because I am not allowed to go to a shopping centre, doesn´t mean that I´m not free. I realize how important it is to have some friends to call and chat to, or to take long walks with them in the forest. Definitely the first thing I will do after this quarantine is going to visit my grandma and the other part of the family.

Simona (21) Physiotherapy student from Slovakia

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