It is safe to say that so far 2020 is the most difficult year to most of us. Families and loved ones are separated because of travel restrictions, people are losing their jobs, we are in constant fear of catching the virus ourselves or giving it to others and the list could go on and on about obstacles we are facing this year. In one way or another everyone is getting pushed out of their comfort zone and has to find new ways to continue the lifestyle we got used to. Emotionally draining, uncertain and dreadful as it is to experience a pandemic, it can also lead to adventures. We realize we are capable of more and different things and can successfully adapt to entirely new situations than what we thought we encounter in our lives about ourselves. In this interview I asked a student of our college, Adeola Oyeyemi about his experience of being stuck in Bosnia and Herzegovina as borders were closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
So you’ve been to Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the International University of Sarajevo with the Erasmus Programme in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic. How much time did you spend in Bosnia and Herzegovina and when did you come back to Hungary ?
I was in Bosnia and Herzegovina between February and June 2020 and I was back in Hungary mid-June because my visa expired at the end of June.
How did you learn about the Erasmus Programme and why did you decide to go?
I got to know about the Exchange Programme through Prof. Laura Kromjak and I decided to go because I saw an opportunity to learn in a different environment, in a different culture and to explore the beauty in Europe.
Before the virus spread globally how much of Bosnia and Herzegovina could you discover, what sights did you visit, what are your experiences?
My first five weeks in Bosnia and Herzegovina were awesome and the experience was amazing. I visited a few places in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Slapovi Kozice, Franciscan Monastery in Fojnica, Old bridge in Mostar, The Yellow Fortress, The Latin Bridge, The Eternal flame, The Bascarsija History Market in the citycentre, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Vrelo Bosne Nature preserve at Ilidza and The Roman bridge.
What are the biggest differences between life in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary? Was it easy to adapt?
The biggest difference between life in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary for me was that I felt at home everywhere I was. The loving, friendly, warmnature and hospitality of the people can not be described in words. The colour of my skin was a great attraction. Walking in the street was something I looked forward to everyday. Sarajevo is not just the “Jerusalem of Europe” but Bosnians are the “Africans in Europe”.
Did you expect the virus to spread so widely?
I wasn’t expecting the virus to spread that wide but yes, it happened.
What kind of safety precautions did your host university make?
My host university (International University of Sarajevo) followed all the directives given by government on CoVID 19 and transferred all our classes to the TEAM MICROSOFT online platform. And the Professors were checking up on us exchange students on a regular basis and the city was in lockdown for a period of time too.
What difficulties did you have to face because of the virus? Were you quarantined? Were you worried or frustrated with the situation?
Staying in my apartment alone not knowing what happens the next minute was depressing. Yes, I was quarantined when I got back to Budapest in June for 14 days. I was worried, frustrated and almost depressed.
When did you get back to Hungary?
I got back to Hungary in the second week in June after taking all my examinations in
Why would you recommend Sarajevo to other students who consider joining the Erasmus Program?
Sarajevo was a great experience. The community is strong and the culture is amazing. Sarajevo is relatively cheap to other European cities and getting a nice apartment can be affordable. The Erasmus Student Network in Sarajevo is a big family.
Besides this experience in what ways does the pandemic affect your life?
The pandemic has reconciled me with my body. I started paying more attention to my body system. I embraced a more healthy way of living and I am on better terms with, related better with my family and friends.
Are you planning to travel somewhere else in the near future? Would you return to Sarajevo one day?
I would have consider going somewhere else but I don’t have a lot of time at my disposal. I will go to Sarajevo at every given opportunity.