December 16, 2020

Serbian Student Struggles to Get Home During Pandemic

A one-week spring break trip turned into a months-long journey home for Srdjan Jankovic ’20.

MMU: You’re back home in Belgrade, Serbia, but it was quite a journey to get there. Tell us what happened.

SJ: I planned a one-week spring break trip to Canada before COVID-19 hit. The day after I got there, MMU went all online and the borders closed. So my plan was to stay in Canada until graduation and then fly home, but I couldn’t get home because of travel restrictions. Finally, a flight to Serbia was approved in June. It felt like the apocalypse because no one was at the airport.

jankovic-srdjan.jpgMMU: You stayed with your aunt and uncle in Canada. What did you do to pass time?

SJ: I kept myself as busy as possible by writing a TV script with my father, studying, working out, and enjoying my uncle’s best dishes in the world. Every night, I watched movies with my aunt and uncle and talked with quarantined friends on the phone. My aunt and uncle were very cautious; they didn’t let me go to stores or be around other people.

MMU: When you got home, you were met with a few surprises.

SJ: Yes, my mom got sick with COVID-19 and could barely get out of bed. She does all the chores at home, so suddenly my dad and I were cleaning, cooking, and taking care of everything. It was way harder than we thought. We are artistically oriented and don’t know these practical things! Then my grandma got sick, and my grandpa’s dementia got worse. When we finally moved him into a nursing home, he died just two days later.

At the same time, the government announced that we beat COVID-19 right before the elections. After that party won, they suddenly declared another 72-hour lockdown due to an increase in cases. Violent protests started within hours. It was a shaky time.

After that party won, they suddenly declared another 72-hour lockdown due to an increase in cases. Violent protests started within hours. It was a shaky time.”

Srdjan Jankovic '20
Marketing

MMU: What did you learn from all of this? 

SJ: COVID-19 showed that we humans are just a pawn on the universe’s chessboard and that everything can quickly turn upside down. It also showed us that nothing is as important as relationships with family, friends, and the community around us. That’s what we’re missing the most during this pandemic.

It also showed us that nothing is as important as relationships with family, friends, and the community around us. That’s what we’re missing the most during this pandemic.

Srdjan Jankovic '20
Marketing