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What happens in Spain when your roommate is confirmed to have Covid-19?

tent test center

Go on exchange |   26. Oct 2020

young man in front of La Sagrada familia in Barcelona

Marc Møller


Alright. So, this blog was supposed to be about the university here in Spain, and I have a lot to say about La Autónoma, though most of it is decently negative.

But the subject sort of changed last week when my roommate said to me when I asked if she wanted to go with us (me and my other roommate) to the gym.  She said no, she was a bit under the weather with a blocked nose and such.

After some time down here, a blocked nose, for me, did not seem alarming, so I just said ‘alright’ and went to the gym. After the gym, I had to go to a class at uni from 18-20, and as the class is about to begin, I get a message “Call me, it’s urgent”. I call her, signal is far from good, so she ends up texting me that she has tested positive for Covid-19.

Are we all infected in the apartment?

I then distance myself even more in class and don’t really get much out of the class due to my focus being elsewhere. What do we do now? Are we all infected in the apartment? Am I? My girlfriend has booked tickets for Spain on Friday. What do we do about that? Thoughts fly through my head.

As soon as I could I went home and got inside with no intention of going out again until I got a negative test. I even made a plan to go to Denmark for a couple of weeks if the test was negative.

The next day, my roommate and I, the one I went to the gym with, went to take a test. Super effective people at the emergency tent they had for these tests, horrible experience to get something pushed up your nose twice. We then waited about 30 hours for a call with the result of the test. We were luckily enough both negative.

Everything seemed to lighten up for a second, but that quickly got dimmed by what the woman on the phone then added to the fact that we were negative. “Because you live with a person who is a confirmed case, then you will have to stay indoors until Friday next week” … Alrighty then.

So, my girlfriend’s flight got moved, my travel plans got cancelled and as of writing this now I am in my fifth day of quarantine, in spite of being negative. I have watched all the movies in the Marvel universe in the correct order (23 movies) and I am halfway through season 2 of Sherlock Holmes the one with Benedict Flumberpatch (funny last name).

My roommate who is infected is recovering, and “luckily” the worst she has experienced is losing her ability to taste and smell, which will hopefully come back soon. Worse for her is that she now wears a mask inside the apartment when she cooks and uses the bathroom, while also doing a thorough cleaning every time.

I certainly prefer looking on the bright side of things, and the good thing about this is that I have now had time to watch and re-watch a lot of movies that I have wanted to see for a long time.

I won’t cheat you of how university in Spain is.  It’s very different from CBS in the sense that CBS seems to be of a different age. Most teachers use PowerPoints or other sorts of presentation software. I have not yet experienced a class without a syllabus, I have not had any mandatory homework and I have not had to attend any classes.

teaching situation at uni

(Photo by Marc Møller)

Nothing was or rather IS mandatory at CBS other than handing in your exam and passing. I do, though, attend most of the classes. I find that more productive than reading the syllabus, but I do enjoy the possibility of not attending class in case of whatever reason it might be, without having a fear of falling immensely behind.

So, looking at these points then you can reverse them and then you can see how it is most of the time here for the time being. 2 out of 5 professors use PowerPoint. There is no syllabus, only a bibliography which I have been told isn’t really used. I have weekly assignments in most classes and I, of course, have to attend 80% of classes to be able to take the exam.

Most teachers do post stuff on the virtual campus, though one seems to refuse to use it, and by not being in class you will not know what you have missed. I don’t have much great to say about the university at this point in time, because it hasn’t really been the best of experiences, though I do hope that this changes in the near future – maybe next week, when I’m no longer quarantined?

And in terms of what uni looks like, it reminds me of the part of Berlin that is mostly concrete, though with many beautiful green spaces, as you can see in the photos.

(Photo by Marc Møller)

Even though this blog is very negative toward corona and the uni, I’m still enjoying being on exchange. In terms of corona, I knew what I was getting myself into by coming here, and doing 10 days of quarantine, watching series and eating take-away is nothing compared to what my roommate has gone through with wearing a mask everywhere in the apartment, sanitizing everywhere she went and basically staying in her room all the time.

And in terms of uni, then I shouldn’t be this surprised that uni here is different, as it is probably also very different in France, Germany, China or wherever one might go on exchange. It’s a part of the experience, and just makes me look forward to returning home, which also isn’t too bad.

And because of the quarantine and the fact that the uni has now decided to go online, I don’t have many pictures to show you this week, but I’ll try and make up for that next time.


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