#VUathome: Firsthand Stories from Students and Staff: Enrique
Welcome to our new series of interviews with students and staff, both here in Amsterdam and around the world. Let's find out how they are doing during these challenging times: meet our second student blogger, Enrique!
Tell us who you are and where are you now?
I am Enrique Oropeza, lawyer and content creator from Tabasco Mexico (no, the sauce doesn’t come from there, it comes from Louisiana). I am currently in Amsterdam studying a master’s in International Technology Law at the VU.
How is it to study from home? Any tips for other students?
In the beginning, it was quite difficult because I was very used to going out and enjoyed being at the university to interact with my colleagues.
But after I embraced the situation, I discovered that planning your day, taking your pajamas off and dressing differently helps. Also exercising changes completely my days. Sometimes in the morning, I go for a run at the closest Dijk to my house till I reach Flevopark, it is so pretty to see the animals and how beautiful Amsterdam looks, especially with this weather. Also, I am following an online training by Barbara de Regil on Instagram, I especially like her energy and the funny Cumbia songs that she uses.
I finally started to learn Dutch properly, and to teach Spanish in return. I always felt that knowledge needs to be shared, it is one of those things that instead of losing value by sharing it actually becomes stronger. Nobody likes grammar, but it does not necessarily need to be boring. I found a way to practice my pronunciation and also connect with locals that help me improve every day. TikTok is a new app that probably you know already because of all the dances and lipsyncs. But have you ever thought about creating something that can actively help you?
I feel this crisis is making us realize the value of content creation, and I find interesting how we started to transfer our daily activities to the cyberspace. If you are looking for something cool to watch online, you may want to take a look at Black Mirror or Years and Years, pretty ad-hoc with the current situation.
What do you miss the most at the moment?
Definitely my family, interacting with my colleagues at the uni and to go out for a dance on the weekend. :(
But some things that help are, to stay in touch with my friends via Zoom or the house party app, reconnecting with people I haven’t talk to for a while and traveling by reading that book of Jorge Luis Borges I postponed before.
What is the first thing you will do when the situation is back to normal?
Dance and maybe throw a nice party at my place. I am thinking of convincing my neighbors to dress up for every celebration we missed, like Easter, Kingsday and Cinco de Mayo.
What cheers you up or brings you the most comfort during this time?
I have a terrible view from my apartment, the only thing I can see is the main building of the police. But If I wake up early, this view completely changes. I can start my day greeting the sun and getting ready for a run. I try to find motivation by staying busy with assignments and my thesis, and by focusing on the projects I want to develop. I have this idea that it is now or never.
Are there any new hobbies or activities you have discovered since this situation began?
I always felt that I was good at teaching, but after I left Mexico I didn’t try it again. A few weeks ago I took the opportunity to teach Spanish, and by doing so, I also discovered how rich the language is, that it is actually not as complicated as Dutch, French, or even Portuguese. Another cool thing is that the Netflix series La casa de papel is trendy right now, so my students are calling me “El Profesor”. It is definitely helping as a motivation to stay enthusiastic and try to find new ideas for the next class.