What do you do when you’re isolated in your own room for two weeks? How do you deal without access to the kitchen or without personal contact with others? Wir-Online Editor, Jana Ladwig, spoke with two international students who are back on campus after their mandatory self-quarantine period to talk about their experiences during the past weeks.

Due to the worsening COVID-19 situation, many international exchange students were asked by their home universities in mid-March to leave Germany and return to their country. In the meantime, some of them have returned. Students arriving in Germany were temporarily mandated to go into self-quarantine according to German regulations.  Arrivals in Germany were instructed to go directly to their accommodation and to enter a two-week self-quarantine. Despite isolation, they did not have to endure the time alone. They were supported by the International Office and the Security Service of SRH University Heidelberg. Upon arrival on campus, Uwe Appelt, the Security Coordinator of SRH Campus Heidelberg, was waiting for them. He carried out a short health check, during which blood pressure and oxygen saturation in the blood was be measured, in addition to a review of any symptoms.

Student Petronella Jouchims Hakansson was grateful for the support: „Uwe Appelt came to me on my first day to make sure I wasn’t ill and he also checked in on me to see how I was doing during the self-quarantine. Much appreciated!“ Bettina Pauley from the International Office also supported her with all her questions and concerns before and during her self-quarantine period. Petronella is studying Commercial and Business Law at Linköping University in Sweden for her master’s degree. She is enrolled at SRH University Heidelberg for a semester abroad, which has turned out quite differently than planned due to the Corona Crisis. Against the recommendation of her university, Petronella stayed on campus until March 20th. Only when more and more countries closed their borders did she decide to fly home after all. She feared of being caught in a lockdown in Germany, away from her family and her home. „Funny to think about afterwards, now that I’ve spent 14 days in my room,“ she says with a laugh. But now she’s back again and has already passed the self-quarantine period. „To be honest, the time went by pretty fast once I got into my routines“ she says. It was particularly helpful for her to divide her small room in her mind: „I made up a routine to not go back to bed after getting up in the morning until I was done with the day`s work. I tried to make the ‚desk part‘ of my room my office, and the ‚bed part‘ my living room, that made the day go by faster and created a feeling of being in two different environments in the same room“.

She was provided with food and other everyday items by two friends. But she could not cook because she could not enter the kitchen. But for her it was not so bad: „To be honest I didn`t eat that much in a day, since I hardly used up any energy by sitting on a chair…“. But the self-quarantine also made Petronella appreciate little things more, like the view from her window that stretches all the way to the castle: „That view has been a good help for my mental health I think, I really felt as a ‚part of society‘ being able to see how the sun rises and sets, the moon rising over Königstuhl at night and the river boats running up and down the Neckar every hour. So seeing people fishing and paddling on the Neckar when the weather was nice has been like a cinema“.

American Physiotherapy student, Aaron Dunson, also went into self-quarantine on campus. His first thought about the isolation that awaits him? „This is going to be pretty tough!“. Aaron has been studying at SRH University Heidelberg since October 2019. In Physiotherapy there are now occasional face-to-face events on campus, as these are dependent on special rooms. So it was important for him to be out of quarantine in time.

In advance of his arrival, he had already contacted the International Office and his professors, as well as fellow students and neighbours. „SRH has been very supportive in making sure, I could get here safely and that I have what I need“, the student says. Nevertheless, the special situation poses a challenge for him. On days when he has lectures, he tried to plan his day as usual. It helps him in particular to plan time for sports. But the weekends cause him concern: “I was concerned about what I will do on the weekends. Having classes during the day made easier to be productive but on the weekends I had to be a little bit more creative.” He fills the time he doesn’t spend on lectures by watching videos, reading, learning or talking to his friends and family. Like Petronella, he has been taken care of by friends in the dormitory or has ordered food. Another possibility is the canteen Cube, which prepares to go meals.

In later weeks Uwe Appelt and his team helped improve life for the residents on campus. In agreement with the police, self-quarantined students were allowed to leave their room for two hours in the evening. Of course, this was only to go for a short walk or to contactless pick up books ordered in advance from the campus library. Nevertheless, it was form of freedom that made a huge difference in this situation.

A total of five students were in self-quarantine on the SRH University Heidelberg campus. But nobody had to worry, „If something is needed from the doctor, we will also get a prescription if time permits“, the Security Coordinator pointed out. One thing is clear in any case, no one is on their own.

Quarantine regulation

New corresponding regulation for international students regarding entry requirements: From now on, anyone entering Baden-Württemberg from an EU country will no longer have to spend two weeks in quarantine. The state government has relaxed the corresponding regulation. Entry from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Great Britain is now also possible without quarantine.

Unterstützung in Quarantäne-Zeiten

Was tun, wenn man zwei Wochen lang im eigenen Zimmer eingesperrt ist? Ohne Zugang zur Küche, ohne Kontakt zu anderen? Wir-Online-Redakteurin Jana Ladwig hat mit zwei internationalen Studierenden gesprochen, die nach ihrem Heimataufenthalt wieder auf dem Campus sind und von ihren Erfahrungen in Quarantäne erzählen.

Viele internationale Studierende wurden Mitte März aufgrund der sich zuspitzenden Corona-Situation von ihren Heimatsuniversitäten dazu aufgefordert, Deutschland zu verlassen und in ihr Land zurückzukehren. Mittlerweile sind einige von ihnen wieder zurückgekehrt. In Deutschland angekommen, werden sie angewiesen, auf direktem Weg zu ihrer Unterkunft zu gehen und sich dort in eine zweiwöchige Quarantäne zu begeben. Trotz Isolation müssen sie die Zeit aber nicht allein durchstehen. Unterstützung erhalten sie vom International Office sowie von der Sicherheitstechnik der SRH Heidelberg. Bei ihrer Ankunft auf dem Campus werden die Ankömmlinge bereits von Uwe Appelt, dem Sicherheitskoordinator des SRH Campus Heidelberg erwartet. Er führt einen kurzen Gesundheitscheck durch, bei dem neben der Abfrage von Symptomen auch der Blutdruck und die Sauerstoffsättigung im Blut gemessen wird.

Die Studentin Petronella Jouchims Hakansson war dankbar über die Unterstützung: „Uwe Appelt came to me on my first day to make sure I wasn’t ill and he also checked in on me to see how I was doing during the quarantine. Much appreciated!” Auch Bettina Pauley vom International Office hat sie bei allen Fragen und Sorgen unterstützt. Petronella studiert an der Linköping University in Schweden Commercial and Business Law im Master. An der SRH ist sie für ein Auslandssemester eingeschrieben, welches sich aufgrund der Corona-Krise anders gestaltet hat als geplant. Entgegen der Empfehlung ihrer Universität blieb Petronella bis zum 20. März auf dem Campus. Erst als immer mehr Länder die Grenzen schlossen, beschloss die Studentin, doch nach Hause zu fliegen. Zu groß war ihre Befürchtung, in Deutschland in einem Lockdown gefangen zu sein. “Funny to think about afterwards, now that I´ve spent 14 days in my room”, erzählt sie lachend. Nun ist sie aber wieder zurück und hat die Quarantäne bereits hinter sich gebracht. “To be honest, the time went by pretty fast once I got into my routines”, erzählt sie. Ihr half es dabei besonders, sich ihren kleinen Raum gedanklich aufzuteilen: “I made up a routine to not go back to bed after getting up in the morning until I was done with the day`s work. I tried to make the ´desk part´ of my room my office, and the ´bed part´ my living room, that made the day go by faster and created a feeling of being in two different environments in the same room”. Mit Lebensmitteln und anderen alltäglichen Sachen wurde sie von zwei Freunden versorgt. Kochen konnte sie allerdings nicht, da sie auch die Küche nicht betreten konnte. Für sie war das aber nicht so schlimm: “To be honest I didn`t eat that much in a day, since I hardly used up any energy by sitting on a chair…” Die Quarantäne brachte Petronella aber auch dazu, Kleinigkeiten mehr wertzuschätzen, wie den Blick aus ihrem Fenster, der sich bis hin zum Schloss erstreckt: “ That view has been a good help for my mental health I think, I really felt as a ´part of society´ being able to see how the sun rises and sets, the moon rising over Königstuhl at night and the river boats running up and down the Neckar every hour. Also seeing people fishing and paddling on the Neckar when the weather was nice has been like a cinema“.

Auch der US-amerikanische Physiotherapie-Student Aaron Dunson hat sich in Quarantäne auf dem Campus begeben. Sein erster Gedanke zur ihm bevorstehenden Isolation? “This is going to be pretty though!”. Aaron studiert schon seit Oktober 2019 an der SRH. In der Physiotherapie finden nun wieder vereinzelt Präsenzveranstaltungen auf dem Campus statt, da diese auf besondere Räumlichkeiten angewiesen sind. So war es für ihn wichtig, rechtzeitig wieder aus der Quarantäne raus zu sein. Im Vorhinein zu seiner Ankunft hatte er bereits das international Office und seine Professoren sowie Kommilitonen und Nachbarn kontaktiert. “SRH has been very supportive in making sure, I could get here safely and that I have what I need”, erzählt der Student. Trotzdem stellt die besondere Situation eine Herausforderung für ihn dar. An Tagen, an denen er Vorlesungen hat, versucht er seinen Tag wie üblich zu planen. Dabei hilft es ihm besonders, sich auch Zeit für Sport einzuplanen. Die Wochenenden bereiteten ihm aber Sorge: “I was concerned about what I will do on the weekends. Having classes during the day made easier to be productive, but on the weekends I had to be a little bit more creative.” Die Zeit, die er nicht mit Vorlesungen verbringt, füllt er damit, Videos zu schauen, zu lesen, zu lernen oder mit seinen Freunden und Familie zu sprechen. Wie Petronella wurde auch er von Freunden im Wohnheim versorgt oder hat sich Essen bestellt. Eine andere Möglichkeit bietet auch die Mensa Cube, die Doggy-Bags vorbereitet.

Uwe Appelt und sein Team haben in  Absprache mit der Polizeibehörde erreicht, dass es den Studierenden nun erlaubt ist, abends für zwei Stunden ihr Zimmer zu verlassen. Dies gilt natürlich nur, um einen kurzen Spaziergang zu machen oder vorbestellte Bücher in der Bibliothek abzuholen. Dennoch ist es eine Form von Freiheit, die in solch einer Situation einen gewaltigen Unterschied ausmacht.

Im Moment befinden sich an der Hochschule fünf Studierende in Quarantäne. Doch Sorgen muss sich keiner machen. “Wenn was vom Arzt gebraucht wird, holen wir auch mal ein Rezept, wenn die Zeit es zulässt”, verdeutlicht der Sicherheitskoordinator. Eins ist auf jeden Fall klar: Keiner ist auf sich allein gestellt.

Einreisebestimmungen

Seit dem 18. Mai sind die Einreisebestimmungen für die internationalen Studierenden gelockert: Wer aus einem EU-Land nach Baden-Württemberg einreist, muss ab sofort nicht mehr zwei Wochen in Quarantäne. Die Landesregierung hat die entsprechende Verordnung gelockert. Auch Einreisen aus Island, Liechtenstein, Norwegen, der Schweiz und Großbritannien sind nun ohne häusliche Quarantäne möglich.

25. Mai 2020 Jana Ladwig