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Student Stories: My Life In Australia During The Pandemic

Every international student has a story to tell about their experience studying aboard. To shine a light on our domestic and international residents, we’re taking part in Study Australia’s #MyAustralia campaign so that they can share their story, how their experience has been during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what it’s been like studying in Australia during such difficult times around the world.

Stephen* – Urbanest at the University of Adelaide

*Name changed at the resident’s request for privacy

Where are you from?

I’m from the capital of Cambodia. Yes, I’m a city kid!

What are you studying?

I’m studying electronics and electrical engineering.

When did you move in?

I moved in about 18 months ago.

How did the pandemic affect your studies, lifestyle, and mental health?

To me, COVID was, like for many others, a wild roller coaster ride. A lot has happened. I broke up with someone I care a great deal for. University has since delivered lectures in the form of video recordings, and the teaching style doesn’t align with my learning style, and I’m challenging myself a lot to catch up with the studies.

Mentally, I have personal challenges that I’m learning to correct even before the pandemic, but they exacerbated in the event. Social skills aren’t my forte. I shut myself completely from socialising. It was mentally straining. Student counselling was my only form of human interaction for quite a while.

Living in a building with other people during the pandemic, how did that help you?

Urbanest is great with respecting residents’ personal/safe/comfy spaces. The staff members are amiable and caring and always keen to offer any help which makes the students’ lives easier. I’m grateful I found some wonderful friends among the members.

How do you feel today after all that’s happened with the pandemic in the past year or so?

COVID left a long-lasting effect on me, but it could also be like one of the famous sayings, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I may not wholly appreciate the meaning now, but maybe I’ve grown a bit.

There’s not going to be a magic fix for the misfortune that happened. But strangely, somehow, I feel like I dare to persevere and find what I’m pursuing in career and, most importantly, in life.

Aditi – Urbanest at the University of Adelaide

Where are you from?

India.

What are you studying?

I’m studying a Master of Business Administration (Project Management) at The University of Adelaide.

When did you move in?

September 2019.

How did the pandemic affect your studies, lifestyle, and mental health?

As I am pursuing a business degree, my courses are mostly interactive and project based. The transition to online learning really affected my academic experience.

In terms of lifestyle, like everyone I had to make changes to my workout routines and I had to adapt working from home.

What sort of things and activities did you do during lockdown?

I started to go for early morning walks which really helped me to refresh my mind, stay healthy, and reduce stress and anxiety. I also participated in online games and activities to socially connect with my friends and family.

Living in a building with other people during the pandemic, how did that help you?

Urbanest provided me opportunities to enjoy and connect with my friends though various online events including Trivia nights and fitness training sessions.

Moreover, the Urbanest at UoA staff members were really supportive in providing all the necessary updates regarding COVID-19 and helped me in following the COVID-19 protocols.

It was really helpful for me. The staff and residents here are very supportive and helpful.

How do you feel today after all that’s happened with the pandemic in the past year or so?

I feel it was a very difficult time for all of us. Especially being an international student staying miles away from my family, it was very difficult for me to ensure that my family was safe. Pandemic really taught us lessons for life.

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