We’ve been busy bees at Flinders University during the COVID19 crisis. Building a healthy online community is vital during this time, and the staff at Flinders International are dedicated to doing all they can to make students far from home, and those studying from home, feel part of the larger community.
“We’ve tried to make it business as usual as much as possible,” says Jose Paulino, Manager of International Student Services. “Everything is online via FLO, and we have an online hub which is updated regularly.” Think recipes, online study tips, at-home entertainment ideas, and messages of support from other students in isolation.
The university has also provided $12.5 million in scholarships and emergency financial support for students in need.
“We also host weekly Talk it out Sessions,” says Jose. “We have an ISS member on hand and students can come online to the forum and discuss anything at all. How they are coping in isolation, their online studies, favourite recipes, ways to keep healthy – how their families are coping. It’s a great way to stay in touch and meet other students going through the same process.”
Zinan Wang, Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), has found these sessions to be beneficial.
“The ISS weekly emails that I have received have been cheerful and exciting,” she says. “I have been following their weekly activities and participated in their ‘Talk it Out’ sessions.” It was a welcome diversion during the lockdown, says Zinan.
“I found it heart-warming to have a community that supports international students, and I know if I need support, I have a place to go.”
Alice Chen, International Student Services Officer, and Flinders alumna has been an active participant in building and managing the online support community.
“I know what it’s like to be an international student, far from home,” she says, reminiscing back to her student days. “In a time like this, it’s really important to stay connected to your community.”
“Like most of our international students, I am thousands of miles away from my family,” says Alice. “I was feeling a bit scared, lonely, and uneasy at the beginning. This is unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime.”
This collective understanding inspired Alice to create a more inclusive, connective, and supportive online community for international students at Flinders University.
“From creating online spaces for students to chat freely, and encouraging them to share their favourite recipes [see Alice’s dumpling recipe here], to sharing personal artworks, poetry, and stories. It’s been really empowering. I’ve been warmed by the reception from our students.”
Students like Amber Guo, studying Master of Social Work, have been grateful.
“It’s been very interesting – and different – to say the least! I could not have gotten through without the wonderful teaching and support staff,” she says. “I feel really grateful for the emergency support from Flinders University and the wider uni community during this time.”
“I received many emails from International Student Services, reminding me to join in all kinds of online activities,” he says. “But what amazed me – a lot – was that Flinders provided scholarships and an emergency package. This was a tough period for international students, so I really appreciated these [actions].”
It was a swift learning curve for many our students, international and domestic alike. But sharing of experiences, study tips, and an ‘all in it together’ attitude have helped.
“I found the online study has been interesting,” says Olayinka Abioye, a Master of Civil Engineering student from Nigeria. “It has made me much more independent, and I have learnt to do a lot of things myself, while also improving my reading abilities.”
Zinan found the switch to online had its own unique challenges too, but found keeping good habits made a real difference.
“I found I interacted differently with online studying,” she says. “I liked the functionality, and have been having a pretty good experience using the online tools.” As for study tips, she found that “keeping regular contact with tutors and topic coordinators to ensure I was on the right track was essential.” And she insists taking regular breaks is vital.
“Go outside, to have a walk every day to balance between study and life – and don’t forget to contact friends and family members!”
Back to campus
With South Australia’s restrictions easing, face-to-face teaching is resuming for Semester 2, July 2020. Of course, your health and welfare is our priority, and we’re focused on proper hygiene and social distancing measures. If you’re currently overseas, don’t delay, you can still study with us starting the semester online in your home country with flexible study options, including an option for part time study. You can then join us full time on campus when our borders re-open.
Ping! Student News at Flinders University – Recipes, study from home advice, student news updates.
International Student Services – The International Student Services (ISS) team is part of Flinders International. ISS is the first point of contact for all onshore international students and offers a range of programs supporting your enrolment, study and social life, as well as referring students to services on campus and within the local community.
Flinders Support Network – our friendly Flinders Support Network advisors about how you are feeling and what support is available to help you.
SA Government COVID19 Updates – Daily dashboard for South Australia’s COVID19 stats.
Share your online study tips and stories by tagging us on socials @flindersuniversity. If you have any questions or want to discuss your study options for Semester 2 2020, get in touch with our friendly team here.