Packing suitcases in a panic and buying tickets at the last moment has become more than just a failure for many students in 2020. The coronavirus crisis reminded students of the importance of family and home.

In the contemporary world, the value of the Motherland ceased to be the center of the universe. By 2019, humanity has achieved maximum mobility in the world. People stopped being tied to one place and began to choose where they want to live, study, and work. Personal ambitions and opportunities have influenced many individuals to avoid a collective lifestyle.

In 2020, the coronavirus outbreak has flipped the world upside down. The scattered panic and fear around the world have strongly affected people’s values and desires. The individualistic ambitions no longer have value. In such a critical situation, people have a desire to return to their roots, to their home countries. The psychological pressure of the virus encouraged people to reunite with their families and relatives, even if they used to live alone. It’s a natural human desire to be at home at a critical moment.

Russian scientist Andrey Serikov in his academic work claims that a person on a subconscious level compares the homeland or parents’ house as a guarantor of security. It’s quite normal that at a time of strong psychological pressure, a person wants to be where one feels safe. For most people, a safe place is a home country or a family house. However, there are many exceptions related to various psychological factors that might affect a person’s choice. Although, the COVID-19 showed that a person can’t go through this pressure alone. 

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Iryna Volkovska, 20, an Anglo-American University student in Prague, says that being at home right now is a perfect scenario for her. Volkovska is originally from Kyiv, Ukraine. She finds herself as an individualistic person who has lived half of her life abroad. Volkovska highly values her independent life and active position in the Student Council in Prague. The COVID-19 situation awakened in her a desire to return to Kyiv even though she does not consider this city as a good place to live. “I just don’t like this city,” said Volkovska during the call.  However, the advantages of staying at home help her get through this psychological pressure. “If I had been there [Prague], I would have felt much worse,” said Volkovska.  She thinks that being with the family at home makes her feel better.

Julia Kierdorf, 21, also a journalism student at AAU in Prague, faced the need to go home during the current crisis, as well. “When the university announced that they are going to do online classes for the rest of the semester, then immediately I was thinking I want to go home,” said Kierdorf. Even though she is used to studying and living alone abroad for several years, the gravity of the situation made her think of returning to Germany as soon as possible. The coronavirus situation makes her feel suppressed and frustrated, but being at home with her family helps her a lot. “At least I’m in a house with my family, and I have a garden. So, I can go outside, which is nice,” said Kierdorf during the call.

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Innatullaev’s case is different. Innatullaev, 21, a student of Saint Petersburg State University of architecture and civil engineering, has decided to stay in St. Petersburg, rather than to come back to Uzbekistan. Thanks to the bright and busy student life, Amir did not take the coronavirus outbreak seriously. “In the first two weeks, I moved freely around the city. I even went to the nightclub a few times”, said Innatullaev. Since the virus was spreading too fast and the situation was getting worse, the desire of being at home with family aroused. However, it was too late to come back. According to measures preventing the spread of the COVID-19 in Uzbekistan, every person who arrives in the country must spend two weeks in quarantine in special camps.  “I will have more chances of catching the disease on the plane or in the quarantine center near Tashkent,” said Innatullaev explaining the reason for staying in St. Petersburg. He thinks that being together with one’s family at the moment is real wealth, that he could get off if he was a little more serious.

The Coronavirus situation also affected Megan Chotrani’s life. She is half Indian half Sri-Lankan student of AAU who also faced a strong desire to be at home. Chotrani, 21, is originally from Dubai, but she doesn’t like the city. “I find Dubai extremely boring,” said Chotrani. She loves Prague and her active life with friends there, so she didn’t want to leave the city. At first, she didn’t take the disease seriously, but when the situation became unsafe, she decided to reunite with her family. I want to be around my mum and my grandparents,” said Chotrani sharing the story of her family. Her mother has an autoimmune disease, and she wants to keep an eye on her during a hard time. Moreover, she has grandparents who are also at risk. So, staying in Dubai right now is a good thing, because they support and help each other as a family.

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In the first days of the virus development in the Czech Republic, Nilufar Latipova, 22, had been dreaming about reuniting with her family. Latipova, an AAU student from Uzbekistan, thinks that every person during a critical situation will feel safer and calmer at home. ”You feel the support of your loved ones at home”, said Latipova during a phone call. For Latipova, expressing emotions is crucial during the pandemic. The COVID-19 forced her to experience emotional frustration and panic attacks.  As soon as the situation began to deteriorate, she packed up and booked a flight to Tashkent immediately. Even though Latipova still had a job and the university in Prague, the only thing she wanted at that time is to be with the family.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected people’s values. In 2020, the most desired and safest place for people is their home. Almost everyone wants to be home with the family to get through the crisis together. “Home is a place of power where you are loved and waited for,” said Latipova. “When you feel bad, it’s the only place where you want to be.”