Most people remember much more than simply study and homework ofthe time they lived in a hostel during their student years. Independent life teaches new habits and skills, and peoplefindlifelong friends and form new relationships. Unfortunately, the current situation has changed life at all hostels, including ours.Many large universities have sent their students home and closed their hostels. We are working hard to ensure that the residents can live in their temporary home as safely as possible. We offer a temporary price discount to all theresidents whose financial situation has become difficult due to the state of emergency.
Most residents of the EUAShostel, which wasopened in 2017, are our students and some students of other universities (TalTech, EBS, etc.). Currently, around 100 residents live in the hostel; only 10 people have left followingthe state of emergency declaration.Not one resident of the hostel has fallen ill and we hope that it will remain so with the joint effort of our team.
Every week we check the residents by calling them through the web and by telephone and ask them how they are doing. As we understand the risks and have assessed them, we have implemented several measures, such as the organisation of regular and repeated informing of the residents, forbidding visitors, usingdisinfectants, and distributing masks and gloves. We have increased the frequency of the cleaning of common areas and installed disinfectant dispensers in the entry area. At the beginning of the state of emergency, we prepared the hostel for a potential coronavirus case by isolating some rooms for possible infected people.
The general mood of the residents is good and they have developed a stronger sense of community– #teeme ära(#letsdoit), #saamehakkama (#wecancope). People support each other, and the hostel employees have helped students who have lost their jobs to write applications to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, advised them and encouraged them. It is of great help to know thatshould there be any concerns the school offers free crisis counsellingin Estonian as well as in English. To maintain a good mood and positive attitude, the residents have created a common Facebook group.
Last week, our Hostel Administrator Kedi Urbanik attended a discussions forum of the Association of Nordic Student Housing (NSBO)where participants shared their experiences and tried to come up with possible solutions. It is good to realise that next to large and renowned international schoolswe stood out with the measures we have taken. Ourresponse speed, quick action and implemented measures show that if there is a will, the situation can be resolved so that the ordinary rhythm ofstudents᾿ life is not much disturbed.There are schools that receive help from the state (e.g.in Norway); however, most schools have to cope on their own. A large number of campuses recognised that they have no idea whether there have infections on the campus or how their students are getting byin this situation. We were the only school to offer free counselling to our students. At the moment, the hostel is not accepting any new residents. Nevertheless, we respond quickly and adjust our actions in accordance with the changing situation.
Sincere thanks to all the people who keep our hostel healthy and united – Hostel Administrator Kedi Urbanik; the Head of the Rector᾿s Office Kätlin Onton; the Administrator᾿s Assistant Ananta Roy; the cleaning personnel –Bindu Gurung, Kadijatu Aziz Kamara, Nana Kusi Siriboe and Ezekiel Otori.