On the 21st October at midnight Dublin entered a Level 5 lockdown. This lockdown meant that all non-essential businesses (including clothes shops) shut, restaurants could only offer take-aways and individuals were restricted from moving beyond a 5km radius of their homes. The lockdown was in place for 6 weeks and ended at the start of December.
Though this lockdown is now over and the restrictions have eased, the lack of predictability surrounding the COVID-19 situation means we really just don't know if we'll be experiencing another similar lockdown again. So just in case here's my 5 tips for surviving a level 5 lockdown:
1. Movie/game nights make everything right
From playing some stressful games of Jenga (suspenseful music is a must) to watching The Princess of Mononoke and finishing all three seasons of Big Mouth, I've had some great evenings hanging out with my housemates. Being in a Level 5 lockdown means that you have the perfect opportunity to bond with your housemates and do the random stuff you may not have had the time to do together before!
2. Food is always a must
Whether its having a homemade guac and fajita party or ordering some mouth-watering Dominos, food always makes everything better. Plus a lockdown is a great excuse to go overboard with the baking, especially when your housemate knows how to make chocolate cheesecake.
3. Make use of the 5km
I am blessed that within 5km I can access the coast which has a great running route, Bull Island beach and St Anne's Park. So trips to these locations have become a part of my daily routine now, and I love them all so much. (Except for how smelly the coast can be at times)
4. Phone calls for days
Whilst its been great to spend more time with my house, I've also used this time to pester my friends and family back home as much as possible. It's nice to stay connected and keep everyone up to date, especially with the pandemic making everything so unpredictable. However, remember its not your obligation to speak to people if you're feeling too much pressure. This is your placement and how you handle informing people about what's going on with you is your call 😉
5. Remember - you're still at uni!
My last tip is not to forget uni!!! Being on a placement, especially abroad, can be overwhelming at times. But this is a part of your university experience and as such you are required to complete forms and assignments whilst on placement. So being in this level 5 lockdown has been a blessing in this regard as I've had a lot more time to focus on my studies and plan dissertation ideas. (Don't worry, a post on how to balance a dissertation with a volunteering abroad placement will come soon!). It's given me some more time to spend researching and compiling ideas as well as to complete my First Placement Report.
So based on my Level 5 lockdown experience would I recommend a placement abroad during a pandemic? Clearly the answer is yes.
This is still an incredible opportunity to meet new people, experience a new place and to make a difference in the best way possible. It seems that lockdowns will come and go and we have to deal with them, but don't let that stop you from pursuing an interesting placement somewhere you've never been before. There's still so much that a placement like mine can offer you... even if you end up in a Level 5 lockdown.