‘Wait? What is happening?’
I was sitting leisurely on the Library swing with my housemate, reading a feminist book and sipping on coffee, when COVID-19 made global news. We started to discuss our COVID-19 resistance plan; all of us from different continents, but equally nervous about the future and a possible lockdown.
It is in human nature to seek the comfort of your home in times of uncertainty. I decided to apply for a leave of absence and make a quick visit to India. Click, click… and approved! The only question was; what about my studies? My supervisor reassured me that I’d have full support;this made a huge difference. Little did I know the extent of the pandemic and its effects. Within three days of being back home, a national lockdown was announced in India. There went my summer term! I was relieved by the response of the University as they decided to make the summer term available online. We received quick and clear directions on how to complete the course, even though I was thousands of miles away and in a different time zone. I was able to submit my assignments and attend the summer term research workshops online whilst also taking a Spanish language course. All hail technology!
The transition to online learning
As a student, I am delighted that the transition to digital learning has been more or less seamless with minimal difficulties during lockdown. The best thing about online classes is the option to replay videos at time of convenience, especially due to the time zone difference. It also helped to hone my approach and perception about online meetings. One of my favourite parts of the online classes was the chance to catch up with classmates in our little ‘breakout rooms’. Thanks to Zoom, we did not have to compromise on our break time!
I am an Erasmus Joint Degree student with a mobility semester in Spanish but – I don’t speak Spanish! Thankfully, York offered students taking a mobility semester or exchange term language training free of charge. We have weekly Department catch-up sessions via Google Hangouts and we also have Netflix parties. This is perfect for physical distancing and social solidarity. The constant correspondence with the University has helped many to avoid anxiety over the new working patterns and online learning system.
Nevertheless, I do miss strolling through the streets of York and spending time in cosy cafés, having scones with friends. Hopefully, we will be able to resume our ‘normal’ lives very soon!
Read more blogs from international students.