Andrien is majoring in Energy Studies at the City University of Hong Kong. He is an exchange student in India and has been staying in Kumaon for the past 2 months, during lockdown, alone.
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I made a lot of friends at IIT since I’ve been here. We went to Kasol, and then Jodhpur and even squeezed in a Goa trip with my german friends after Minor 2 was canceled.
That night, we had a party in Kumaon, and I was sure all of them would be back in 2 weeks.
When I came back from Goa my german friends left India. I stayed because, for one, I knew what a strict place IIT was and I knew they would restart classes no matter what.
The students here had really shocked me when I first came here. Back home, the classrooms are usually completely dark with most students doing their own thing. At IIT, students have to actually focus. Some professors here, I know they speak English but I couldn’t understand them and even if I try to use google translate on my phone, they would say ‘Hey, stop using your phone’
Since the lockdown, every day seemed the same. Far from the exciting India trip, I had envisioned. My friends and I kept talking to each other and planning our next party in Kumaon so as to not get so depressed.
There are around 15 people with me - some local students, Afghanistani students, and some from Africa. Food is the usual although sometimes I order Zomato so I can eat something nice. My friends in Hong Kong joke about me never being able to come back. They tell me to stay in India and get citizenship and marry a girl!
My family is safe and life has resumed in Hong Kong, which is why I can’t understand why the corona cases in India keep blowing up even with a lockdown. But even with everything that happened this year, my time in India has changed my life. It’s also changed my attitude towards learning. I try to do something new every day now. I started learning Photoshop and Korean on youtube. My Kumaon friends, we kept planning about when we will meet again and party. That got me so excited and I kept hoping it would happen. I’ll be going home now and I won’t come back, and it’s just sad I will not be able to meet my friends again.