Welcome to Kafkadesk’s Quarantine Diaries, our new segment gathering testimonials from across Central Europe to understand how people in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic are living through the unfolding coronavirus crisis and, maybe, give you some comfort to show you you’re not alone in this ordeal. Today, 27-year-old Rada from Thailand shares her story as she remains stranded in Poland.
I am a final year medical student studying at Warsaw University of Medicine. I’m originally from Thailand, but have been living in Warsaw for the past five years, going on my sixth! I was supposed to move to Paris at the end of my classes, on April 12. But my flight got cancelled when Poland started restricting international travel. I re-booked a flight, and now waiting and hoping I’ll be able to leave on the same day with LOT.
Stranded in Poland
For me, I think the hardest part about the whole situation is the uncertainty, not knowing when it will end and ultimately being stranded here by myself. I mostly spend my days at home just studying and trying to finish whatever courses I have left online. Unfortunately, my Polish isn’t quite good enough to put myself to use, as I haven’t yet reached the B2 level, which is the level they require here to volunteer as medical staff.
I don’t really understand why the Polish government chose to close all travel, even locking foreigners in the country. I simply don’t have any way to leave right now. I was supposed to move to Paris indefinitely at the end of my university studies in Poland, so I’m really quite sad about the whole situation. Being stranded here was simply a terrible timing.
Lock-downs keep couples apart
Before the lockdown, I came back from Paris, where I was living with my partner, and only managed to attend one class before the shut down the schools. Later that week, they decided to close the borders on a Saturday night at midnight. So I’m now stuck here. My family is in the United States, but I’d rather not go back there due to how the situation is unfolding.
In Poland, the university told students not to leave the country, and since many of them were scared of repercussions, many stayed until after the borders were closed. hardest part quarantine
There are repatriation flights to France, but as a Thai, I’m not eligible. My partner and I are not eligible for reunification, as we still haven’t completed the paperwork to apply for PACs (French civil partnerships). It’s becoming really frustrating to wait here.
Stay tuned for more of our ongoing quarantine diaries segment, Central Europe edition!