Why did you decide to study abroad this Fall, during a global pandemic?
When I decided to study abroad nobody could have predicted covid-19 was going to stick around as long as it has. At that time people thought it might not even reach the US or, if it did, it’d be gone by summer. I was also lacking a certain flexibility as a senior student going into my last semester in the fall. It was very much a “now or never” kind of decision, and I decided any opportunity was better than none. I resolved to work within the guidelines to create the best experience possible under the circumstances. I don’t regret my choice and am committed to seizing the opportunity I’ve been given.
What was it like in the airports? Did you have to provide any negative COVID results? Were they checking temperatures in the U.S or in Ireland? Did they ask you any COVID specific questions?
For airports I didn’t notice anyone screening temperature. Lines were smaller and marked for social distancing (which was widely followed). Security measures felt the same compared to my previous air port visits, no more or less personnel and the same TSA protocol. Social distancing being observed on planes varies by the airline but all flights I attended required everyone to wear masks. None of the airports I visited required results from or proof of a covid-19 test. Ireland has separate requirements I was briefed on including a passenger locator form (for contact tracing purposes) and a mandatory 2 week isolation period (which I’m currently in the middle of).
Describe your 14-day self-quarantine situation. Are you with other roommates? Were there any care packages in your apartment (masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, etc.)?
Apartments at the university of Limerick have 4-6 people (in individual suites) per unit. My apartment has 4 and is fully occupied. When we arrived some pantry staples and groceries (cereal, bread, milk) were already present but still required additional groceries to suit our needs. Due to isolation we had the groceries delivered. Cleaning supplies including dish soap, dish scrubs/sponges, surface disinfectant, and trash bags were present. No laundry bins or detergent was provided (if that’s important to somebody). Individual suites had an additional care package notably including a SIM card and UL branded mask.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’ve finished your self-quarantine?
First thing I will do post quarantine is visit a pub with some new friends I’ve met virtually during the isolation period. Pubs are reopening here but maintain mask wearing and social distancing. It will be outside (to reduce spread) and include no more than 6 people as per government guidelines.