Documenting Lockdown Life

AUP students faced a huge challenge and a major disappointment this Spring semester, as French government confinement measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of the University’s campus and a switch to remote learning and working across the entire community. Many students chose to return to their home countries to be with their families; around 400 students chose to stay in Paris and see out the confinement period in France.

Whether in Paris or spread across the world, students rose to the challenge of remote learning. We are proud of every single one of them for their commitment to finishing the semester under unprecedented circumstances. It was understandably a difficult time for every one of our global explorers – a term we use to describe the kind of globally-minded student that AUP tends to attract – and many felt compelled to document what they experienced during this unique moment in history.

Students at all levels displayed initiative and innovation by working on their own projects that kept a record of confinement across the world. AUP Student Media, also known as ASM, produced an in-depth series of students’ personal accounts of lockdown, known as the Corona Diaries. “Now more than ever, it’s important to keep the AUP community knit,” explained Lydia Wiernik Partenio, Editor-in-Chief of the Peacock Plume student news site. “Written diary entries are short and personal, from 150 to 200 words.” As well as written contributions, students worked on video content for the Peacock Play YouTube channel. You can find the full video series online here.

The Corona Diaries gave students a platform to share their quarantine stories, letting them discuss their thoughts and feelings about the pandemic, and, in the process, reassuring them that they were not alone in feeling anxious, stressed or even afraid. The result is a fascinating look at our community’s diverse responses to a global crisis. The collaborative nature of the project shines a light on the solidarity and optimism that our global explorers so brilliantly display.

Others took on personal projects to document their time in lockdown. Monique Callender wrote about her experiences in her blog, Corona Chronicles, which documents her time as a struggling extrovert isolating alone. Bileh Dougsiyeh, a graduate student studying for an MA in Global Communications, recorded a podcast called The Isolation Files, in which he discussed his day-to-day life in Parisian confinement. Undergraduates Léa Mahoudeau-Campoyer and Sarah Salama took the conversation to their peers, interviewing fellow students about their experiences around the world in their podcast, Third Culture Kids. Several students also made active contributions to the AUP Digital Campus, volunteering to guest-present episodes of the Good Morning, Global Explorers podcast or submitting their artwork to the Digital Fine Arts Gallery.

Global explorers are students who seek to go further, to be exposed to new cultures and to transcend borders and nationalisms. At AUP you’ll be encouraged to launch your own projects and collaborate with your peers on creative endeavors. If that sounds good to you, find out more about how to apply.