Julia Schmidbauer

Same Same but Different

My generation of Austrians has never experienced truly „rough times“. Of course, we heard from our grandparents about the Second World War, about a time when Austria had to build itself up from scratch. But those were stories.

Story by Julia Schmidbaur
Austria, Western Europe
Published on April 18, 2020

Reading time: 4 minutes



I am highly unsure of how to start writing this. „Just write that on tinder I receive more dick-picks than ever“, my friend Naomi states, „or that they have evacuated the train I took after a homeless person coughed at the passengers and peed on the floor“.

As a journalist, I am used to producing three articles a day, but this one seems difficult. How to write about something that affects our lives in a way at least my generation has never experienced before. The coronavirus came at the cost of many: In Austria, more than 200.000 people lost their jobs within three weeks, our economy has lost 11 billion euro so far, and most importantly it has cost lives. Personally, it meant for me that on March 15th, I packed all my belongings in two suitcases and moved out as quickly as possible. I had been enjoying „hotel mamma“, as we call it, for quite a while now. Since my mum is turning 80 this May, I figured it was too dangerous for her to have me around.

My generation of Austrians has never experienced truly „rough times“. Of course, we heard from our grandparents about the Second World War, about a time when Austria had to build itself up from scratch. But those were stories. My mum, on the other hand, was four years old when the Second World War ended, and surprisingly, she is conquering yet another crisis more fearless than I do. With almost 80 she is part of the high-risk category people but keeps up her good spirit and tells me jokes in our everyday calls. Corona can also not stop her from feeding her kids on Easter Sunday, this time the chicken will be handed over in a shopping back through the window.

My daily social interaction is my neighbor Marina. We met once in the hallway before corona. „Hey… so how are you dealing with quarantine? “, was our second sentence. Ever since I feel we both can’t wait for our window chats, which have become the highlight of my day, besides going downstairs to get my mail.

„My friends are my vitamin D“, a friend recently posted on Instagram. And I have to say I agree. Social isolation has made the people in our lives more important and cherished than ever.

After shutting down Austria to a minimum, the columns our economic system was built on, seemed to crumble. Our care system has been built on hundreds of cheap workers, mostly women, from eastern Europe. After closing all borders, they became visible for the first time. Overnight these women have become a high good and our government is flying in hundreds of care workers to keep caring for the elderly.

Well, a bit more than 3 weeks later we made it, „we flattened the curve“, as officials call it. Austria will be one of the first European countries that can relax the rules. But can we go back to normal when this crisis shows us the weakness of our neoliberal system more than ever before?

We have to stick to the rules, our minister of health is preaching every day, or numbers will go up again. "When will we be back to normal?" is the common debate. But should we go back to normal? And what will our new normal be like? Ending this summary of how corona has affected me, my favorite quote comes to my mind: „We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.“ (Robert Frost)


How does this story make you feel?

Follow us on Social Media

Talk about this Story

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

* indicates required

Julia Schmidbaur

Julia Schmidbaur

Journalist from Vienna
Borne and raised in 'rudolfscrime' (as we call our 15th district)
02.07 1986
Vienna based, Barcelona at heart

Topic: Coronavirus

> Germany
COVID-19 And the Discussion it Brings

A story by Mira Kinn

Apparently there are differences in the preferences country-wise of “hamstering”, a verb that has become most prominent these days, describing the built-up stock of commodities, food, and beverages. Rumour has it, that France is now short on condoms and wine for example, whereas in Germany it is definitely pasta and…wait for it…toilet paper. I am not sure what this tells about the different mentalities but let it be open to imagination.

> Read More

> Italy
Corona in Italy - A Dystopia?

A story by Sati Nunziati

I’m conscious that not every person is responding in the same way, fear is a side symptom of this virus, and locking down a whole country will contribute to exposing its weakness. Hearing the news from all over the world now, makes me believe that we really and truly are a global community and society facing up the same difficulties.

> Read More

> Netherlands
Corona in Amsterdam - an Experience From a 24-year Old

A story by Joost Backer

I suddenly find myself going on strolls through the park with friends, doing board games at home, or talking to my neighbours almost every morning from our balconies. It’s a weird situation. But thankfully for me, not necessarily a bad situation.

> Read More

Get involved

At Correspondents of the World, we want to contribute to a better understanding of one another in a world that seems to get smaller by the day - but somehow neglects to bring people closer together as well. We think that one of the most frequent reasons for misunderstanding and unnecessarily heated debates is that we don't really understand how each of us is affected differently by global issues.

Our aim is to change that with every personal story we share.

Share Your Story

Community Worldwide

Correspondents of the World is not just this website, but also a great community of people from all over the world. While face-to-face meetings are difficult at the moment, our Facebook Community Group is THE place to be to meet other people invested in Correspondents of the World. We are currently running a series of online-tea talks to get to know each other better.

Join Our Community

EXPLORE TOPIC Coronavirus

> South Korea
Corona Tidings from Seoul

A story by Veronica Burgstaller

South Korean wear masks because of the high-pollution levels, when they have a cold, or for the simple vain reason to hide their swollen faces after a beauty surgery. Then one day came the news of a novel virus breaking out in Wuhan, China. The unexpected seriousness of this virus only hit me, when I looked for a mask but none could be found.

> Read More

Or read it in it

> Netherlands
Corona in Amsterdam - an Experience From a 24-year Old

A story by Joost Backer

I suddenly find myself going on strolls through the park with friends, doing board games at home, or talking to my neighbours almost every morning from our balconies. It’s a weird situation. But thankfully for me, not necessarily a bad situation.

> Read More

Or read it in it

> Italy
Corona in Italy - A Dystopia?

A story by Sati Nunziati

I’m conscious that not every person is responding in the same way, fear is a side symptom of this virus, and locking down a whole country will contribute to exposing its weakness. Hearing the news from all over the world now, makes me believe that we really and truly are a global community and society facing up the same difficulties.

> Read More

Or read it in br

> Germany
COVID-19 And the Discussion it Brings

A story by Mira Kinn

Apparently there are differences in the preferences country-wise of “hamstering”, a verb that has become most prominent these days, describing the built-up stock of commodities, food, and beverages. Rumour has it, that France is now short on condoms and wine for example, whereas in Germany it is definitely pasta and…wait for it…toilet paper. I am not sure what this tells about the different mentalities but let it be open to imagination.

> Read More

Or read it in tr

> Hong Kong
To Wear a Mask or Not

A story by Kate Tang

If your country does not promote wearing masks as a public safety protocol, I feel okay about it and respect that. But why the choice of wearing one is not respected? We are now in the fourth month dealing with the virus. More and more people are starting to understand that Coronavirus is not just common flu.

> Read More

> Australia
Stuck Down Under

A story by Pia Dannhauer

Since I am not able to go to my office anymore or access any libraries, we even send each other books, basically setting up our own loan system while libraries remain closed

> Read More

Global Issues Through Local Eyes

We are Correspondents of the World, an online platform where people from all over the world share their personal stories in relation to global development. We try to collect stories from people of all ages and genders, people with different social and religious backgrounds and people with all kinds of political opinions in order to get a fuller picture of what is going on behind the big news.

Our Correspondents

At Correspondents of the World we invite everyone to share their own story. This means we don't have professional writers or skilled interviewers. We believe that this approach offers a whole new perspective on topics we normally only read about in the news - if at all. And in case you wondered: Everyone includes you as well. Do you have a story to share? Reach out to us and let us know!

Share Your Story

Our Community

Although we just started a few months ago, we already have a great community of people from all over the world. While face-to-face meetings are difficult at the moment, our Facebook Community Group is THE place to be to meet other people invested in Correspondents of the World. We are currently running a series of online-tea talks to get to know each other better.

Join Our Community

Vision

At Correspondents of the World, we want to contribute to a better understanding of one another in a world that seems to get smaller by the day - but somehow neglects to bring people closer together as well. We think that one of the most frequent reasons for misunderstanding and unnecessarily heated debates is that we don't really understand how each of us is affected differently by global issues.

Our aim is to change that with every personal story we share.

Topics

We believe in quality over quantity. To start off with, we collect personal stories that relate to our correspondents' experiences with five global topics:

Environment

Discussions about the environment often center on grim, impersonal figures. Among the numbers and warnings, it is easy to forget that all of these statistics actually also affect us - in very different ways. We believe that in order to understand the immensity of environmental topics and global climate change, we need the personal stories of our correspondents.

Gender

Gender is the assumption of a "normal". Unmet expectations of what is normal are a world-wide cause for violence. We hope that the stories of our correspondents will help us to better understand the effects of global developments related to gender and sexuality, and to reveal outdated concepts that have been reinforced for centuries.

Migration

Our correspondents write about migration because it is a deeply personal topic that is often dehumanized. People quickly become foreigners, refugees - a "they". But: we have always been migrating, and we always will. For millions of different reasons. By sharing personal stories about migration, we hope to re-humanize this global topic.

Liberation

We want to support the demand for justice by spotlighting the personal stories of people who seek liberation in all its different forms. Our correspondents share their individual experiences in creating equality. We hope that for some this will be an encouragement to continue their own struggle against inequality and oppression - and for some an encouragement to get involved.

Corona Virus

2020 is a year different from others before - not least because of the Corona pandemic. The worldwide spread of a highly contagious virus is something that affects all of us in very different ways. To get a better picture of how the pandemic's plethora of explicit and implicit consequences influences our everyday life, we share lockdown stories from correspondents all over the world.

Get Involved

We believe that every single personal story contributes to a better understanding of the complex world we live in - and the people we share it with. That includes yours! We would be really happy if you would like to share your story, too, and join our community.

Share Your Story

Growing Fast

Although we started just over a year ago, Correspondents of the World has a quickly growing community of correspondents - and a dedicated team of editors, translators and country managers.

46

Correspondents

51

Stories

34

Countries

94

Translations

Contact

Correspondents of the World is as much a community as an online platform. Please feel free to contact us for whatever reason!

Message Us

Message on WhatsApp

Call Us

Joost: +31 6 30273938