The consequences of the pandemic have been quite challenging for many students, and our scholarship recipients were no exception. While many could not start their new academic year as planned, some were able to join their planned university, though under different conditions. Below you will find the inspiring personal experiences of three of our students.
Lara Jost, Ph.D. Student at University of Edinburgh, class of 2019
“I started the second year of my PhD at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and while the general state of the world is uncertain and stressful, I feel lucky. Indeed, transitioning to work-from-home for my degree was much easier than for others, as doing philosophy only requires a computer and good WIFI. I am also able to participate in my university’s student life through their initiatives for a safe student experience and many student groups are holding online activities. Moreover, I try to see the upside of this new digital age: never have I been able to interact with so many interesting philosophers living everywhere in the world! While I never imagined going through my doctoral studies during a pandemic, the friends I made in the PhD, my supervisor, and the warmth of the philosophy department make this experience a lot less frightening.”
Valerie Locher, Master Student LES, class of 2020
“When the British Government decided to include Switzerland in the list of countries from which you would have so self-isolate upon arrival early in the summer, I chose to spend time with my grandparents in Greece to avoid the 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the UK. This was a wasted effort, as just before my move-in date, travelers from the Greek Islands were required to self-isolate upon arrival anyway! Times are hard: lectures are online and meeting friends is challenging. However, I am happy. My in-person seminars are incredibly interesting and stimulating; my classmates are smart, passionate, and talented; my friends and my roommates are angels. London still offers a vivid, beautiful and extraordinary experience. Despite the many inconveniences given the circumstances, I absolutely do not regret being here and I am thankful for this opportunity!”
Yvan Schoenberger, Master Student at Oxford
“Starting at Oxford this semester has been a pretty unique experience to say the least; with the first Matriculation ever to be conducted online for example. And while a lot of things have had to be adapted given the circumstances, some are exactly as I had imagined them. The quality of the teaching, the diversity and caliber of my cohort, and the abundance of the resources at our disposal for our academic and professional development. Even if socializing has been difficult, I have managed to meet and befriend a couple of students and hopefully those relationships will blossom into lifelong friendships. Strolls in the city with its ancient buildings and history are also a very nice change of pace from EPFL and all its modernity; I can’t wait to explore all the many colleges once they reopen again.”