This 2020 did not start well, although we all have big plans.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) was firstly reported in Chinese city of Wuhan, but managed to spread and infect over 3.5 million people worldwide in a very short period of time. To contain and fight the pandemic, many governments across the world undertook urgent and tough measures.
The most severe measures have to do with social distancing, and that many cities and countries put into lockdown. Such measures mark some positive impact in the nature and environment due to the reduction of traffic (and traffic jams) and industrial production.
For only three months, the quality of air in Europe improved for more than 40%, while in India the air got cleaner for 33% enabling the silhouette of the Himalayan to be seen from around 125 miles away for the first time in 30 years. The current lockdown in the world has two sides of the coin.
On the one hand, people stay home, don’t go to work, public places are closed, while public events and gatherings are cancelled. In this situation, one can say - well, now it is our time! It is time to be creative, and at the same time be responsible for our life and life of others. In this crucial moment of pandemic, we can't forget people who do sacrifice every day, and risk their lives by working at hospitals, police stations, bakeries, markets, etc., so that we as society benefit from their services and have all necessary things (such as food, medications, etc). On the other hand, the global economy was hit, the production has slowed down or stopped, and we will be able to tell the full consequences only after the pandemic.
Despite lockdown measures fully in place in Montenegro, as well as in neighboring countries, studying never stopped. My colleagues and me, as the PhD students of Humanistic Studies at the University Donja Gorica, are continuing our semester on line (by Zoom application and e-mails). This is working very well thanks to the excellent Faculty organization and our honorable and great professors, who do their best to provide information and inputs so that we can study from home. This is helping students to study from the comfort of their homes and use their time in a way that suits them more, and not be under stress. The on line consultations with professors are very appealing to me, compared with ones done before. On the similar way, the Ministry of Education in Montenegro has established an internet platform for students at elementary schools to have on line lessons, so they can easily study from home.
What we learned from this pandemic? We learned that it doesn’t matter in which country one lives, which social status one has, what nationality or religion one belongs to, we can all be infected and affected by the virus, and we all have the same obligations - to stay home and follow and respect the government instructions put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. We learned that during the times of crisis we witness the great values that people have in common such as solidarity, compassion, and care for each-other and those most in need. There are numerous cases of health workers who went to other countries to help people affected by the coronavirus. We also learned that we could wisely spend the time on our free days, and do the things we always wanted to do, but couldn’t, as there was not enough time.
Thus, now is our moment! Isolation is a challenge for all of us, requires us to be brave and altruist at the same time. A lot of famous universities all around the world give free on line courses, while many museums, house operas, theatres, etc. are so virtually close to us, just in one click – you may go in a 'virtual walk' across an interesting cultural institution, and in that way, all around the world. You may enjoy a sunny day, watch some romantic comedies, read a good book, cook Italian food, just like I did, listen to pop music, draw, or just do the exercises or yoga. I prefer reading as I have a lot of interesting books. So, improve your life. Make your life better! It is up to you!
This is no time for excuses. It is time to prevent the spreading of the virus. Stay at home. Save your life and life of others!
Mira holds a Master degree in Political Science, International Relations department of University of Montenegro in Podgorica.
She has passionate and inspiring knowledge on international relations, world politics, the Balkans history and diplomacy. During her internship programme, she worked for the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, specifically, she worked on the project National revision and implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), in Montenegro.
Also, she was involved in a project Development of Environmental Infrastructure Audit and Affordability Study, which has a huge importance for the Chapter 27 – Environment and Climate Change.
Mira has participated in CEEPUS exchange programme at the Faculty of Applied Studies in Nova Gorica, Slovenia. She speaks five languages: Montengrin/Serbian, English, Italian, Spanish, French (the basic level).