International students in Cardiff react to the end of firebreak lockdown

Being in a different country makes every social interaction important

The new post-firebreak Coronavirus rules announced by the Welsh Government allow for socialising in small numbers. The government states that it will allow young people to step-out in slightly larger groups. For international students, in particular, this is good news.

Andrea Paris, a Spanish student doing Chemistry at Cardiff University, calls not meeting her course mates and friends a “pain”. She adds she is “not a clubbing person but not being able to visit cafes is particularly annoying”. Like many international students, Andrea feels the regulations for smaller groups to go out will actually be a good step forward in relaxing the restrictions.

At University of South Wales, Barbora Holla from Slovakia touched upon the lockdown’s impact on her Christmas plans. She cannot fly back to her family owing to national lockdown in her country and is yet to get a refund for air tickets. She was worried she will have to spend it alone if the restrictions for socialisation in Cardiff weren’t eased.

Welsh First Minister – Mark Drakeford states, “We have listened to those young people and single people who told us how important it is for them to meet some friends and other family members.” However, he cautions, “As in all aspects of our lives maintaining the basics of good hygiene and keeping our distance will be crucial in such setting.”  For most students, the eased regulations on socialisation, particularly those who have come from across borders, is a welcome move as it promises support, albeit limited, to their mental health.

Hiranmoy Phukan, an Environmental Design for Buildings student from India at Cardiff University weighs in, “It is a good measure for students to catch-up post work. International students have quite a few things on their plate, considering all the screen time, college work, managing food and restrictions. With opening of cafes and restaurants, it gives us a place to take a break from our routine and sit down with a friend or two. I do feel it will positively shape our mental space.” He would still want to opt for deliveries till infections are contained better.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Welsh Government announces two households can form a bubble when lockdown ends

• What it’s like being a Cardiff International Student during the pandemic

• Welsh Government confirms what will reopen when firebreak lockdown ends