"A letter from International Students to Commerce International"
The pandemic has hindered the plans of many students this year to continue their studies overseas. In this blog series ‘A letter to Commerce International’ we reached out to a range of students impacted by travel restrictions to gain insight into their experiences studying remotely.
These are their responses.
Hey, I’m Josh, a second-year Med student at UNSW and I am currently based in Singapore.
Learning online definitely has its perks and struggles. I started my degree on campus, with face to face lessons and clinical sessions. When COVID hit early last year, I made the decision to return home, not knowing that till this day I would be attending “virtual uni”. The sudden transition to online learning was no doubt an arduous one- but one made easier by the university. The faculty of medicine adapted to this new style of learning with great proficiency and efficiency; moving lessons onto meeting platforms such as Microsoft teams and Blackboard Collaborate. Facilitators and teachers were also well trained to operate via these new mediums, reducing the difficulty of learning in an online environment. Not everything regarding online learning was perfect, however, but these kinks were swiftly addressed and improvements were made by the faculty. A downside to learning online was the lack of social interaction, this sentiment resonated throughout my social circle and despite trying to catch up online, nothing beats face to face interaction. With this also, came a lack of motivation. On a positive note, learning online came with the luxury of time and flexibility. After all, who doesn’t enjoy the luxury of waking up just before a class or taking a cheeky nap in between them? The ease of learning straight from home also allowed me to explore various new hobbies and spend more time with my family.
Singapore has handled the COVID situation with much care and caution- swiftly placing measures and restrictions to combat the spread of the virus. This has led to a relatively low infection rate throughout the nation, and despite certain restrictions in place, life within this city still feels relatively normal. The government issued an advisory for students abroad to return home, this has brought my family back together again (since my 2 younger brothers study in a boarding school in the UK, and me myself aboard for Uni). This has led to greater bonding time with my family, which include – going out for hikes, binging Netflix shows together, going on staycations, playing tennis, working out together and just simply being in each other’s company. All this would not have eventuated without COVID. For this, I am extremely grateful.
With more time on my hands, I’ve been able to pick up new hobbies as well as revisit older ones. Over the last year or so, I started Wakesurfing. Wakesurfing is similar to actual surfing, however in this instance, you surf a wake (an artificial wave created by a speedboat) instead of a wave. I also picked up Aquascaping, where one creates an aesthetically pleasing underwater landscape using a substrate, plants, rocks, wood, etc. I have also been able to return to lifting weights at the gym more regularly and Thai kickboxing (which I attended at UNSW Muay Thai)- all of which I am extremely passionate about.
Well firstly, would be to travel back to Sydney. Then, I would be to catch up with my family and friends that I miss so greatly ☺.