GLOCALs in Quarantine: How are We Coping with it Now?

This is the GLOCAL experience we weren’t expecting.

In our second semester, we were all scheduled to be in Barcelona until at least June. At the time of writing, it’s the first week of April and some of us have already had to leave. Many of us are still here in the city for, well, we aren’t quite sure either. With the university shut since March 13 and the nationwide lockdown imposed in Spain since March 14, ‘Barcelona’ to us is now the views from our room windows (also balconies/rooftops for a lucky few…) and short trips to supermarkets.

A person riding a motorcycle on a city street

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And the long que for entering the supermarkets… Photo: Lilac

Of course, there’s a lot going on behind our four walls: online classes and assignments, online meetups and parties (yes, we have a dedicated #Glocalsbeyondquarantine calendar!), honing our cooking skills and self-reflection, among others. We decided to create a GLOCALs in Quarantine survey to check in and share how all of us are coping. Here are stories from 13 GLOCALs from cohort III, 9 in Barcelona and 4 back in their countries:

On the scale of 1-10, how are you feeling at the moment?

Best word (or a few) to describe your life right now?

Although most of us rated ourselves quite high on the scale, we admitted we have to adjust to stay inside. Some are calmer than others:

Study from home


This may sound ridiculous, but I am enjoying my time more than before the lockdown. I don’t live in a stress because of running all the time between home, university, gym and meetings. I have time to do many interesting activities that I wouldn’t do so often in normal circumstances (reading interesting books, watching self-developing videos, learning meditation, doing physical exercises and playing games).

Our best wishes and virtual hugs to those who are struggling:

I have a hard time with not dealing with the normality anymore. I’m taking care of the people I love and trying to be the best I can. I’m also trying to understand myself and the world.

Uncertain and distressing about the future, but not necessarily bad during the quarantine.


Also, to these struggles:


Sibling rivalry

Drowning in the sea of blankets

5 Top Things You have from Grocery Stores During the Quarantine?

While staying at home could be boring, we are curious about what people get from the grocery store, as this is one of the limited number of reasons people can have for going out of their home. This question is basically the quarantine version of ‘the three things you would bring to a deserted island’

Among the 13 answers, carbohydrates stood out as a clear essential, with four mentions of rice, three of pasta, two of cereal and 1 for bread. Eggs, milk, yogurt, veggies, fruits, coffee, chocolate and ice cream are also popular options, since they keep us healthy and energetic (yes, chocolate and ice cream are healthy during quarantine). We also want to congratulate avocado and banana for being the most popular ones among their fruit peers, as two folks mentioned that they got avocado, and one highlighted banana as it ‘increases their serotonin.’ From experience, alcohol is an essential item for us GLOCALs too, with popular choices being wine, tequila and beer. Keeping true to the toilet paper memes, we had three people mentioning that they got toilet papers (hope everyone has enough!)

A plate of food on a table

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With avocado, you can make Guacamole. Photo by Chava, taken during one of our #GlocalsBeyondQuarantine# activities, when Abby and he taught us how to make Mexican food.

Beyond these general choices, everyone’s food preferences is when you can see our cultural differences and similarities, which is always an interesting topic for GLOCALs. Here are some examples:

Jinny from Thailand and Lilac from China both mentioned instant noodles. Instant noodles seem to be a shared ‘survival food’ for our East Asian group.

Liya from Russia shared an interesting story about a special Russian crop:

Buckwheat is a famous Russian crop and, as the news about the virus became tense, many Russians began to purchase it in bulk so sometimes it was even hard to find 🙂 so far its sales have already risen by 65% (even the world famous toilet paper managed to rise its sales only by 25% during this panic in Russia). Actually, I also bought three packages of buckwheat in a Russian store in Barcelona before I had taken a decision to go back to Moscow 🙂 had to leave them in my room…

– Liya

What are some creative ways in which you’re coping with the current situation?

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We counted over 30 activities!

Activities included binge watching Netflix TV series (no surprises here!), movies, games, Broadway shows, online museum collections, comedy channels, chat, memes, blog, photo editing, lending an ear to friends, journal writing, personal reflection, having cry break, drinking, eating, cooking, doing school assignments, reading, taking up online courses, finding a summer internship, meditating, practicing yoga, hula hooping, practicing BTS cover dance for the K-Pop lovers among us, and basking in the sun on a terrace.

Some picks on staying healthy:

  • Special full body workout for quarantine: Heria Pro app (Chava)
  • Follow swing dancers for live classes: Instagram (Lilac)

And on staying productive and inspired:

  • Learn Spanish and Catalan culture online: Government of Catalonia website (Silvi)
  • Free study and business books: Studentenkorting website, in Dutch and English (Tynke)
  • A book and a game recommendation, by Mateusz:
    The secret of Quantum Living by Frank J. Kinslow (book),
    Lord of the Rings Online (a wonderful free online multiplayer role-playing game (MMORPG) that can take you to the Middle Earth for a while)

Lina is happy to share her impressive collection of self-quarantine activities, including literature and movie recommendations, learning platforms, food recipes and much more (in Spanish, English and Portugese).

Finally, we present you roses, folded by Tynke:

A picture containing table, small, covered, food

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Photo: Tynke

Last but not least, we left open a space for anything else our classmates perhaps would want to share. Except for two persons feeling worried about the deadlines for schoolwork (well, as we always do), most of the answers express the need of reflection of the current situation and the love between us. While we’re only listing answers below, all the answers are equally touching, honest and valuable.

I LOVE the clapping every day at 8pm, it creates a connection among inhabitants of a city that is usually very anonymous and reminds me that we are still all human and thus actually have many things in common. This ritual gives me energy and makes me quite emotional.

– Merle

It is, undoubtedly, an unstable period and many of us may feel insecure, but I do believe that through self-care and acceptance of this whole situation it is possible to make the best out of quarantine despite the tense atmosphere. I am highly gratitude to all the people around me (virtually), whose support I feel every day and to whom, I hope, I give the same support in return. Yes, we do not see each other via physical presence, but social media give us this great opportunity to stay in touch despite the isolation. I might not participate in every online activity organized by our GLOCAL team, but the fact that some of us gather online to chat and do something together makes me feel so happy, protected and involved. This challenge only strengthens our bonds.

– Liya

We thank Abby, Camila, Chava, Isabel, Islam, Jinny, Lilac, Lina, Liya, Mateusz, Merle, Silvi, and Tynke for their contribution J. All GLOCALs, stay safe and we will meet soon! Love you all!

Author: Jinny and Lilac

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