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Stress of Erasmus students in Poland related to COVID-19. A study explaining the experiences of March 2020

Marta Nowak

Wroclaw University of Economics and Business, Management Department, Poland

118-120 Komandorska Street, 53-345 Wrocław,

e-mail: marta.nowak@ue.wroc.pl

ORCID: 0000-0002-0625-7988

received:  02.10.2020
corrected: 16.10.2020
accepted: 26.10.2020
Keywords:
COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2, coronavirus, lockdown, stress, stress management, Erasmus, students.

Abstract

The article explores the situation of Erasmus students staying in Poland during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and their stress related to COVID-19. The research is explanatory. It is based on the students’ narrative explaining their situation and the stress associated with it. The article identifies the stress patterns of Erasmus students resulting from the pandemic and the lockdown. The following sources of stress were identified: lack of knowledge, insufficient information, information chaos, limitations imposed on social life, separation from relatives and friends, the need to make difficult decisions based on incomplete data, the virus itself, the health of friends and relatives belonging to risk groups, severe restrictions on a  personal freedom, being “stuck” in a  foreign country, transport problems and the inability to return home, an unprecedented and unexpected situation, a lack of predictability on a personal and global level, a cancellation of plans and uncertainty in the future, the risk of putting other people at risk. Stress reactions were physical (e.g. fever), behavioral (e.g. screaming) and cognitive (e.g. negative thinking). The following methods of coping with stress were used: positive thinking, humor, following the mind and not emotions, performing physical exercises, learning new things (e.g. playing an instrument, preparing dishes), planning and scheduling days, searching for reliable information and social support, limiting access to the media.

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