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Quarantined But Not Isolated: One Resident’s Story

When International House reopened its South Building to Residents in August 2021, it did so with strict protocols for ensuring the safety of its community living and working in the House. Measures included the decision to open at a reduced occupancy level and welcome fewer residents into its community, which numbers 700 individuals from all over the world in a typical year. This decision was made not only to ensure plenty of space between residents’ quarters but also to set aside rooms as a safe zone for residents required to isolate prior to re-joining our community. We had a chance to speak with Nicola Benatti, a resident from Italy pursuing his MBA at Columbia Business School (CBS), about his quarantine experience after receiving a COVID diagnosis in the Fall. How did you hear about I-House? What made you decide to live here? I first heard about International House when watching an interview by James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s CEO, who was a resident of I-House when he was at CBS. After further research into the accommodations in New York and in the area, I realized I-House would be the best place for me because of its focus on community. What was your quarantine like? From the moment I found out about my infection, I-House staff was incredibly helpful and supportive. I was provided a nice room where to spend my isolation, and I never felt alone. A member of the staff was checking in with me every day (even twice a day!), and I was provided with anything I needed. I really felt taken care of when Rosie [House Manager] brought me organic tea and ginger, and when I received a handwritten note from Sebastian [I-House President] wishing me a speedy recovery. Is there anything you’d like to add about your I-House experience? There really is something special about this place, and I’m really happy about my decision to choose this as my home. I had looked at many different options for university housing, but did not see nearly as much emphasis on creating a strong community within a safe environment anywhere else. I-House really cares about this aspect of housing, and all the cool events that were organized for residents are a testament to it. Although I wasn’t sure exactly what being part of the I-House community meant when I applied, I now understand what makes this a special place…I-House is not just I-House–It’s I-Home. Thank you, Nicola! We’re glad you are well and a part of this community.