Flickr, by Flx

Stuck Down Under

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

Story by Pia Dannhauer
Australia, Austalia and New Zealand
Published on May 31, 2020

Reading time: 4 minutes



Australia may have experienced the full effect of the corona outbreak a few weeks later than Europe, but toilet paper was still gone from the shelves with rapid speed even before then. One Tweet predicted this buying craze would go into history as “The Great Toilet Paper War of 2020”[1]. I don’t think I will ever forget that Meme again. Despite the bizarre buying crazes, it was quite unsettling to hear the news coming from Europe. Even more unsettling was to see how many Australians disregarded social distancing measures, congregating at Bondi beach and – weirdly enough – flogging to Bunnings (a hardware store chain). That felt incredibly frustrating.

At that point, my family’s visit to Brisbane had already been cancelled due to the quarantine requirements for foreign visitors. A few days later, entry into the country was prohibited entirely. With a temporary student visa, this means that I am not able to see my family– simply because I would not get back into the country for the foreseeable future.

Still, I consider myself to be among the lucky ones in this crisis as I hold a scholarship. In contrast, some international students are trapped outside the country due to the border closure and risk losing their visa. Some have lost the job necessary to finance their studies. Some of the PhD Students who just finished their degrees now can’t find employment. Even many of the academics I am working with worry about their positions and future research projects, since universities have been hard hit[2] by the lack of incoming students.

For me, the crisis has changed my days in some ways, since I am not able to go to my office anymore or access any libraries. But attending seminars, listening to external researchers presenting their projects and exchanging with other PhD candidates is still possible – just very different. And being forced to connect in new, digital ways has certainly brought our PhD cohort closer together. We even send each other books, basically setting up our own loan system while libraries remain closed.

Since I am still very new to Australia, observing how Australians deal with past and current hardships for first people (the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) is also really interesting for me. One of the first things I noted when I arrived here is that at any public gathering or event, Australians start with acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land and that first people are still disadvantaged in many ways. Unfortunately, remote communities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are particularly affected by COVID-19. This is because there are higher levels of chronic illness, and access to health care is not readily available.[3][4][5] Furthermore, the food shortage caused by “hamster buying” (not only toilet paper) has cut off essential supplies to remote areas. I still have a lot to learn about the indigenous people but I think it is an important issue to be more aware of and draw attention to. After all, it puts my own struggles at university and traveling in perspective. 


Footnotes

[1] The Great Toilet Paper war of 2020 (2020), from: https://twitter.com/AUS_otanko_Ns/status/1236106978939645952?s=20

[2] The conversation (2020), Australian universities could lose $19 billion in the next 3 years. Our economy will suffer with them, from: https://theconversation.com/australian-universities-could-lose-19-billion-in-the-next-3-years-our-economy-will-suffer-with-them-136251

[3] AGDH (2019), “Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities”, from: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/advice-for-people-at-risk-of-coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-peoples-and-remote-communities

[4] Naccho (2020), “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Information”, from: https://www.naccho.org.au/home/aboriginal-health-alerts-coronavirus-covid-19/

[5] AGDH (2020), “Coronavirus (COVID-19)”, https://www.niaa.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/coronavirus-covid-19


How does this story make you feel?

Follow us on Social Media

Talk about this Story

Please enable cookies to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

Stay up to date with new stories on Correspondents of the World by subscribing to our monthly newsletter:

* indicates required

Pia Dannhauer

Pia Dannhauer

My name is Pia and I am a PhD Candidate in Australia. I moved from Berlin to Brisbane last year to research Indonesia's foreign policy. When I am not working, you can find me looking for koalas or feeding my sourdough.

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


> India
The Spirit of Goodness During COVID Times

A story by Charu Thukral

When I was diagnosed with chicken pox, all I wanted was to be home with my family, 1300 kilometers away.

> Read More


> 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


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

> Austria
Same Same but Different

A story by Julia Schmidbaur

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.

> 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.

52

Correspondents

63

Stories

38

Countries

127

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