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Opiskelijaelämää koronan aikaan

FINLAND

Aino Hausen

First year master student

“In Finland, the universities are shut and all teaching, including psychology studies here in Tampere, is organized as distance learning. In terms of my psychology studies, the coronavirus kind of hit at the right time. I’m doing the first year of my master’s degree studies, which involves a lot of learning about practical psychology skills, such as clinical assessment with real clients. Naturally, these kinds of skills would be challenging or impossible to practise with distance learning. Luckily, all the courses I’m taking now are possible to study remotely with my laptop in my own home. Some of the lectures livestream through Zoom and it is possible to interact with the lecturer and other students. The rest are recorded lectures that can be watched any time. There is an opportunity to take examinations online as well. “For me, the biggest challenge is to motivate myself to study home alone, where there are no social contacts nor social pressure to keep me from pausing the video every five minutes to check my phone. Or do literally anything else other than studying. I think the key is to have compassion for yourself, keep in touch with friends and go out in the nature.”

ICELAND
Bergrún Mist Jóhannesdóttir

First year master student

“In Iceland things happened really fast. My class of 11 students had its last in school class on a Wednesday (March 11th) and then two days later the government stated a ban on public events and gatherings. This ban meant that all universities and high schools in Iceland were closing for the rest of the semester. I was really saddened by the fact that I would not be meeting my classmates or teachers face to face anymore and wished I‘d have given them a hug or a proper goodbye the last time I saw them at school. 

The next week started off with Zoom-classes on Monday. I was surprised by how well it worked and I think it definitely helped how small and close my class is. All of the classes continued as usual and It worked out pretty great. We were also very lucky that we had no final exams this semester, only some papers and reports that we could work on from home. The only project that got cancelled was an oral project in our therapy course. Overall it‘s been an ok experience and all the teachers have been very understanding and supportive for example by postponing the due dates of reports and encouraging us with kind words.”

FAROE ISLAND
Ingrid Enni

Semester master student

“Since there is no opportunity for Faroese university students to study psychology in the Faroe Islands, most students study in Denmark. I am a psychology student at the University of Copenhagen, and at the moment I’m doing my final internship at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Center in the Faroe Islands. Due to the corona virus and lockdown, we are not able to attend the clinic and must stay at home for four weeks – with the possibility of it getting prolonged. 

We are working from home with things that don’t require our physical attendance, e.g. we have some consultations, supervision and gather anamneses online via video. The psychological assessments of the children have to wait until we can go back to the workplace. These are e.g. WISC, QB-tests and ADOS. As for now, the study board hasn’t changed the internship exam, or the date of the exam. But they tell us that they haven’t made their final decisions yet.”

SWEDEN
Leo Rehnberg

First year master student

“Despite what the media coverage hints at, life has been severely restricted in the wake of the recent virus outbreak in Sweden too. It started out as rumors about lectures being cancelled, and now, a month later, we’re having seminars, lectures and therapy sessions by the grace of modern technology. My experience is that most of our usual curriculum can still be taught online (with the added awkwardness of performing psychotherapy per video call). The real kicker is the uncertainty and knowing everything could change at any moment, restricting our abilities to engage with clients even more and lowering the overall quality of our education. 

Admittedly, sometimes when I sit at home I forget that I’m still studying, but there are many here in Sweden trying to change this. For example, I’m involved in a newly founded national organization for psychology students who want to offer the public support per phone. Events for students at my faculty have also found their way online, and it seems like people are finding some footing in this new world of social distancing. Hopefully creativity and resilience can outweigh the confusion in the end, because it’s clear that this situation is far from over!”

NORWAY
Rikke Tjoflaat Bruusgaard

First year of six year clinical psychology

“All Norwegian universities have been closed down, as with most other countries right now. Most lectures and learning is happening online. Although most of the adaptations that has been made are functioning surprisingly well, it is clear that many students are feeling overwhelmed by the increased responsibility to learn all areas of the curriculum by themselves, as well as being isolated and unable to study and be around friends and fellow students. I am only in my first year of the six year clinical psychology program, thus I am not as impacted by the corona virus as higher levels are. Our exams have been changed from school to home exams and most material we need has been provided online.

Personally, I moved from Bergen, back to my family in Oslo and have been here for the last month. It has been an interesting time where the stress of the corona situation is affecting us all in some way or another. I have become increasingly aware of how the roles I use to identify with are being mixed with the roles I inhabit within the family. It makes it difficult to feel like an independent, young adult and a student, when I am at the same time “a child” within the family. Although I appreciate the fact that I have a family I can stay with, and people I can be around in these isolating times, I am looking forward too, as I am sure many others are as well, to being able to move back to Bergen and continue my studies in psychology with my fellow students.”

DENMARK
Victoria Bonderup

First year master student

“When our lockdown began in Denmark on a Wednesday evening, the university was ready with live streaming lectures only two days later. The situation is difficult, but it seems like everyone is doing their best to adjust to the new reality.

The most comprehensive part of our first year as master students is a 10-month internship. There are major differences with the situation people are in, depending on which sector the internship is located in. Some internships were immediately stopped due to infection risks and the interns are looking at a busy autumn in order to live up to the formal requirements of the internship.

I was lucky. I can work from my home and continue client therapy over the phone. It is difficult as everything new is, but also a rewarding experience. We are always told that the future is digital, and the reality sure did get digital very fast with COVID-19. I am sure that these experiences with therapy over the phone will be useful in my future work life, but I also miss looking the clients in the eye.”

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