Life as an International Student During Covid-19

When this pandemic first hit and international students all over had to return home, it seemed like distance learning would be a short-term arrangement.

But here we are, a year later, and many international students are still studying from home. The struggles of online distance learning are especially tough on these groups of students – time differences, shift of environments and the fact that their universities are thousands of miles away.

This can all get a little overwhelming, especially with the stress of exams looming. So, take some time off and consider trying the methods below!


1. Coping with time differences

Distance learning inevitably means that you have to attend lectures at 12am and go to bed only at 4am. This could really mess with your daily routine and induce lethargy. It can also cause hiccups when handing in assignments and coursework. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid the effects of time differences. However, it is possible to mitigate them!

Firstly, make sure to get enough sleep. 7-8 hours of deep sleep will ensure your body and mind are fully rested, so when you’re attending classes or studying, you can completely focus. In addition to sleep, fit in some exercise time as well. Physical activity can go a long way in mitigating the effects of time differences.

Although chugging down coffee may seem like the best solution, it may result in coffee dependency or an addiction. Perhaps, opt for healthier options such as warm water or tea whilst sitting in for classes.


2. Keep in touch!

One of the hardest part of distance learning is being away from your friends – and what’s worst? Being half way across the world from them!

The thought of not being able to see them for months at a time can be disheartening but with all the various apps and functions available, you could see them (virtually) as much as you’d like. Although it’s not the same, keeping in touch with your friends is so important in ensuring some semblance of a normal, campus life.

Arrange Zoom calls, online study sessions, game nights or movie marathons – do all the things you would do together in person, over the internet! This could really help alleviate the stress and monotony of distance learning.


3. Create YOUR space

With lecture halls, dorm rooms and libraries, on campus life ensured the best study spaces. When studying from home, most of us use our bedrooms for a multitude of purposes – as a lecture hall, a library, a sleeping space and a resting space. The lack of designated spaces could result in demotivation and boredom.

Which is why, it’s so important to create spaces. Even within your bedroom! For example, spruce up your study table and make sure it is conducive for long lectures or study sessions. Avoid studying on your bed or sleeping on your desk.

By clearly separating your spaces, you create order within the chaos of online studying.


4. Engage

Online classes can be tedious, especially for a prolonged period of time. It may be tempting to just leave the class on whilst going about your other work, but this could inevitably result in forming a disinterest for your classes.

Sit in and try your level best to pay attention. It would be even better if you engage with your lecturers and classmates. Ask questions, take notes, clear doubts. You will come out of classes feeling more interested and passionate about your subjects.


5. Log Off

Online distance learning is almost synonymous to students spending hours stuck in their rooms, attending classes and studying their online material. This amount of screen time isn’t great for our mental and physical well-beings.

Carve out some time in your day to log off. Take a walk, speak with friends and family, spend some time in the kitchen. Indulge in any activity that would allow you to unwind after a day (or night) of online classes.



So there you have it! A few methods international students could embed into their daily lives to mitigate the effects of online distance learning. Although, it won’t get any easier, these methods will at least take some pressure off.

Perhaps your online experience as an international student can still be enjoyable!