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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

14 days of quarantine in South Korea

It’s been over a month since I have left the U.S. So many things have happened with so many changes. Let’s start from the beginning on Friday, Feb. 21, when I boarded my flight from Boston to Hong Kong. I had an eight hour layover in Hong Kong, and here I began my story. They checked my temperature and I was able to board my flight to South Korea. As soon as I got off the plane, I was given a face mask. The workers had on full-body suits and goggles. I should have taken a picture, but I felt like it would have been weird. The screening process lasted over an hour. We were required to download an app and report any symptoms of COVID-19 for the next 14 days. I was very impressed by their readiness. When I landed it was Saturday, Feb. 22. At the time it was still considered safe to travel to South Korea. According to Worldmeters, the number of the cases in South Korea was around 436.

Language is a very important factor for communication, which is how things began going downhill. Being the nervous individual that I am, I ended up getting into the first taxi I saw, which was a deluxe. The taxi driver did not understand where I wanted to go, so we ended up in the wrong place. The meter just kept running and I told myself I’ll probably waste a lot more money than this. Eventually, we made it to the building where students were being quarantined. Since I had a layover in Hong Kong, I was required to self-quarantine for 14 days. I tried communicating with the receptionist, but it was to no avail. Apparently, my name was not on the list of people who needed to be quarantined, so I kept going back and forth between the dorm and the quarantine building. The buildings were on a hill which made it more difficult with all the baggage I brought. No one really knew where I should go. Thankfully, there was someone who spoke English and settled things. 

I was very surprised when I was given snacks and a kettle. They had specific elevators for staff and students. It was wrapped from wall to wall and ceiling to ceiling. They were not taking any chances. The only furniture in my room was a desk and two foldable chairs. When I was younger, I used to sleep on the floor for fun, but now that I’m older it’s just painful. I was given a thin futon to lay on the floor and a blanket. My main concern was food, because I wasn’t given any information on how these 14 days would pan out. There were several notices on the door either written in Korean or Chinese. At the time it was midnight, and I just didn’t feel like doing anything. 

Quarantine was not bad overall. I got to spend some time alone, which was great. I felt very sheltered and safe from the world. It felt like no one but me existed. Some highlights were when I almost went insane from boredom because my converter broke. All my electronics were going to die. I wasn’t allowed to leave and didn’t have anything to pass the time. I spent a lot of time thinking. Thankfully, the next day a miracle happened and the converter started working. Another day, the automatic light turned on for no reason. I was convinced that the place was haunted. It was even more difficult to sleep after that. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, my next-door neighbor was released. I was truly alone. To keep myself in a good mood I started planning what I’d do when I left quarantine. It kept me in good spirits and from going insane.