CEU Away from CEU

February 12, 2021

by Maria Zakaryan, Alumni Scholarship Recipient and MA student in the Department of International Relations

"Try to be positive” was probably one of the most used phrases in 2020. Anyways, that was what I told myself after several waves of happiness after getting my acceptance letter from CEU...in the beginning of a global pandemic. Moving to a foreign country for your masters during a global pandemic with closed borders and travel restrictions surely needed some positivity.

Closer to the beginning of the academic year, many newly admitted students, including me, faced the challenges of delayed visa applications and had to start their CEU journey online. As I am writing this, I am attending CEU classes remotely. At first the idea of studying International Relations remotely sounded strange to me: I was looking forward to joining the vibrant CEU community and meeting my colleagues from all over the world. The time and technical difficulties, dealing with Zoom and screen fatigue made studying even more challenging. Yet, the journey to IR through the online platform turned out to be an interesting experience.

The online term at CEU taught me one thing: the diversity of the CEU community cannot be taken away by Zoom classes. It made the journey unusual, but interesting. I got to meet my classmates from all over the world in their hometowns, in their own settings. I could feel the diversity of the community even more when we were joining classes from various time zones, with completely different backgrounds from Europe, Asia, the Americas: so different, yet all of us together.

The positivity towards Zoom sessions, chatting, video calls and thousands of online meetings make the anticipation of future meetings even more exciting. In the end, the pandemic made the CEU spirit travel all over the world through hundreds of screens, making us feel more connected than ever.