On April 22nd, at 9:00AM EST., I, along with several other International Affairs Scholars, joined in to a guided Zoom panel to discuss International Perspectives on the Coronavirus Pandemic. Some of the special guests were Aubin & Elsa from France, Niklas from Germany, and Ivy & Rainbow from China. All of the guests on this panel were able to give us a more in-depth perspective on their own local communities.
Throughout the duration of the panel, guiding questions were asked in order to see how things differed from country to country. The first observation that I noticed is that both work and study plans have changed drastically across the world in similar manners. For example, both Niklas and Ivy agreed that the transition to online school has been a bit slow and stressful, but hasn’t greatly impacted their ability to learn. Furthermore, Rainbow added that the transition for her hasn’t been too bad. The three of them all agreed that the situation itself wasn’t quite that bad; they all enjoy learning from a distance for the most part. I found it especially interesting that both Ivy and Rainbow prefer classes online compared to in person because that is a quite different case in the United States. Although they both preferred this distance learning over traditional classroom settings, they did touch on how difficult the curriculum is in China and how difficult it might be for younger students. I found it interesting that Germany is considering reopening universities when in the US, we are still considering closing universities in the upcoming fall due to COVID-19. Additionally, in Germany they are not on a complete lockdown, but rather just extended social distancing mandated by each state. In France, restrictions are much more rigid. Initially, France didn’t take COVID seriously, which ultimately made the circumstances much worse in their country. Aubin & Elsa said there were only three reasons that you could provide in order to leave your place of quarantine: to work (if essential), to see close family (1 KM around), and to get essentials. If you go further than 1 KM, it is very highly regulated. For example, QR codes are needed in order to travel. When it comes to protesting in order to reopen the economy, the United States is having the most. In France, it is common opinion that it is not necessary to go back to work quite yet whereas the US is a working oriented culture.
Overall, I think this panel has some wonderful insights, and was a great way to connect with peers all over the world to check in. The discussion itself was highly related to international affairs and the values of the organization. It truly opened my eyes to what is occurring around the world because during this time of quarantine, I have neglected staying on top of international news, as I have been focused on my immediate community. However, I am glad I am able to look a the situation with fresh eyes and an open mind with an international perspective.