COVID-19 / Student life at Natolin

April and May 2020

The Natolin campus is known for its strong sense of community. Even today, under these special circumstances and a new way of living, this feeling still inspires us and gives us hope. Despite the changes that had to be introduced in campus life in the past weeks, we made it clear to our students that the Natolin Student Affairs Office, in cooperation with other campus services such as the Natolin Canteen and Residences, would double their efforts to make them feel comfortable and ensure a lively space. Every day, we did our best to support the student community and think of creative ways to strengthen bonds between students on and off campus.

Our students have, through their own initiatives, also shown immense solidarity and have made outstanding efforts to remain united as a Promotion.

"Our Natolinians of the Hannah Arendt Promotion have proven that, no matter how hard a crisis can get, solidarity comes first. Now more than ever, Natolin staff stands with its students." – Manfredi MINEO, Student Affairs Office

The whole Hannah Arendt Promotion at the start of the academic year on 4 September 2019

Virtual National Days 

One of the examples of how Natolin students manage to stay connected and united in the face of the current crisis are the still-ongoing traditional national days. Natolin students did not get discouraged by the physical distancing measures and found creative ways to share part of their cultures and identities and engage their colleagues in various digital activities.  

While the Turkish students shared a "Potpourri of Turkish Music" (18/04/2020) with the Natolin community, French students organized a linguistic activity "French Up Your Day" (20/03/2020) by sending a series of idioms and French culture facts to the whole Hannah Arendt Promotion.


The Brazilian-Portuguese Day (09/04/2020) was celebrated by sharing beautiful posters with funny and witty expressions in order to discover a little bit more about the language and culture of Portugal and Brazil. And finally, for the Dutch National Day (27/04/2020), our students from the Netherlands prepared a full day programme of digital activities for their colleagues starting with a recommendation to go cycling in the morning, then immersing themselves in Dutch art and painting via online museum exhibitions, learning some Dutch with Teun in a special video lesson and finally having a traditional King’s Day dinner and listening to Dutch music via a playlist curated for this occasion.


Even though the national days were held in a virtual format and the Natolin Canteen operated in take-away system, the Canteen staff was happy to contribute to students’ endeavors and tried to cook traditional meals or offered special desserts to Natolin students on the occasion of the national days.

Winning photo of the Natolin Forest Week Photography CompeTreetion by Alexandra Blin

Student projects and activities 

Aside from the national days, Natolin students of the Hannah Arendt Promotion remained very active in terms of extracurricular activities and also managed to translate other types of events and projects into digital formats thanks to their creativity and commitment.

An excellent example of such an initiative was the Natolin Forest Week, which reflected upon the importance of our forests and natural environment with particular focus on our Natolin nature reserve as well as the nearby Kabaty forest. On this occasion, students organized, among others, the Yoga Tree Pose Challenge and the Forest Photography CompeTreetion

The Natolin Defence and Security Society continued its activities through a new series of European Security Webinars:

Those interested in journalism, communications and media continued writing articles for the Natolin Blog as well as respected external outlets such as New Eastern Europe

The Regions of Europe Society kept publishing their "La Regionisto" journal and organized a conference for students on 30 April 2020, which looked into Subnational diplomacy in multi-level Europe, in collaboration with the Assembly of European Regions.

Finally, the Natolin Energy and Climate Society together with the College of Europe in Natolin staff also continued its preparations for the International Conference "Shining a Light on Energy: 10 Years of the Lisbon Treaty" which happened on 17-18/06/2020 online.


Natolin Choir, Stress Management Workshops and Yoga in an online format 

In terms of leisure activities, the Student Affairs Office has managed to maintain those which could be adapted to a digital format, such as the choir, stress management workshops, as well as yoga classes. 

"Even during COVID-19 crisis, we still have the possibility to follow choir and stress management workshops online. These extracurricular activities really help me cope with this unprecedented situation, and allow me to better focus on my academic obligations." – shares Sarah CABOZ, Natolin student of the Hannah Arendt Promotion

The Natolin Choir continued singing with Ms Katarzyna BONIECKA through videoconferencing with students from all over Europe joining rehearsals twice a week via Zoom.

"We are currently working on 3 songs. The first one is "Colors of the Wind", which was supposed to be a part of the Natolin Forest Week closing ceremony. Then, students chose another song, "When we were young", by Adele with a view of possibly performing it at the Graduation Ceremony. The latest project we have started is "Stand by me" to honour front-line workers fighting the pandemic, saving lives and running essential services. The rehearsals provide all participants with much needed joy and relax. We’re planning to record and combine all files to create a music video."– the Natolin Choir conductor, Ms Katarzyna BONIECKA

Natolin Alumni Support  

During these challenging times, Natolin alumni living in Warsaw also remembered about the Natolin community. On Friday 24 April, our alumna Alaa JADALLAH of the Keynes Promotion 2016-2017, who currently serves as Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Palestine in Warsaw, made a very kind act of solidarity and generosity to the students of the Hannah Arendt Promotion by offering them delicious baklava to mark the beginning of Ramadan.


Just before Easter on 7 April 2020, H.E. Ambassador Luc JACOBS and the staff of the Embassy of Belgium to Poland and Lithuania also surprised Natolin students with a package of fine Belgian chocolates in the form of Easter eggs!

With the easing of restriction in Poland, students started organising small gatherings on campus, respecting all the limitations and safety measures which were adopted by the College. The Restaurant, committed to keep the students morale high, prepared a delicious "Pierogi Festival" on 23 May 2020, delivering different types of Polish traditional pierogi in the beautiful open space behind the Library and next to the Natolin forest.