It all started at the very first exam of my master’s studies. After the end of the exam, I asked my professor for a recommendation of a good place to go to an Erasmus+ study stay – somewhere I could learn something new in my field, in media studies. He mentioned Tartu, which had already been on my shortlist of universities. I kept it in mind.
One and a half years later, at the beginning of 2020, I began the process of preparations for Erasmus+ studies. I went through the websites and offers of many universities, but in the end, I wanted to go to Tartu so much it was the only university I signed up for in my application. It was in the middle of February, to be precise. Some disease which apparently appeared in China started to spread abroad, but at the time, I had no doubts about the rest of the year. I thought it would go as usual when a new disease appears – a cure for it arrives quickly, and it just disappears in a few weeks.
The further I got through the application and acceptance processes, the more anxious I got about it. The disease stayed, it was named COVID-19, and it was spreading around the world. It canceled the tour of the band I play in, it canceled my plans for the summer, and I feared it would cancel my dream of finally living and studying abroad for some time.
During August, the situation with COVID-19 got slightly better, and despite hearing many unpleasant predictions for the autumn, I was grateful that I could at least travel to Tartu and start my semester there with face-to-face teaching. After several canceled flights and two days of complete chaos, I took a 35-hour journey by bus from the Czech Republic to Tartu.
When I arrived at the bus station in Tartu and opened the Google Maps app to finally find my way to the dormitories, I felt like I had just finished a marathon run that I lost, because all my plans for a calm departure to Estonia failed. Nevertheless, I made it to the end, and the successful finish was the only thing that mattered. I felt exhausted but extremely happy at the same time.
Just like many others, I had to stay in self-isolation for two weeks after my arrival. Again, I felt grateful for being able to come to Estonia, so I obeyed the rules carefully. I went only to the nearest supermarkets to buy the necessary groceries, I wore a mask, and I spent days in my room. And gosh, how I missed a good cup of specialty coffee.Continue reading