Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia … Corona ruined young Danes’ year abroad

Photo: Mette Mørk

Many young Danes take a year off traveling between studies and Iben Wielandt Nielsen was no different. Before the pandemic, she had high hopes and a ton of expectations for her year off, but Covid-19 ruined the 20-year-old’s plans of traveling to Asia and 2020 became a very disappointing year for the young student.

Iben graduated High School in 2019 and spent the first half of her year off working at a kindergarten to save up enough money for her trip abroad. Together with two friends, Iben was going on a longer trip in May 2020 to Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The trio had plans of learning to dive, surf, hike in the rainforest, and much more.

In an interview with JydskeVestkysten, Iben says that they had the world at their feet, and were beyond excited to explore. “It was a huge sense of freedom ahead,” Iben says.

The trio had been preparing for the trip for six months and they were really looking forward to it. Although talks about the virus in China emerged at the beginning of 2020, Iben and her friends stayed optimistic because they had no plans of visiting China.

The thought of their trip being canceled, never crossed their minds until Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen shut down the country on 11 March 2020. The trio immediately got in contact and decided to postpone their travels to August because at that time Corona would be gone. August came with Corona still very much present, the trio discussed postponing the trip once again but in the end, the adventure was canceled.

”We had so many plans, we had been so thorough, and it all ended being a big disappointment, Iben says. Since traveling the world seemed impossible, Iben booked a stay at a Danish Folk Highschool for January 2021 but due to the second wave of corona infections in Denmark, that stay has now been postponed four times.

Iben says to JydskeVestkysten that she had so high hopes and expectations for her year between studies but is now just trying to keep her expectations low to avoid further disappointment. Corona restrictions have brought along the feeling of loneliness and Iben feels she has been waiting for so long.

“I’ve had enough of waiting, and I have to take care of myself because I can not keep staying at home. Fortunately, I have the option of traveling during my studies, and I am slowly starting to believe in the future again. I look forward to being close to my friends again, giving hugs and kind kisses. It’s all going to work out,” Iben says.

About Mette Larsen

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