Life as an International Student During the UK Lockdown
Judit is a Spanish student, in her first year at an English university. She describes her experience of the UK lockdown, and how she’s coping far from home.
When we started in September 2019 nobody thought we would be locked at home because of a pandemic. So, after the first semester of feeling a little bit lost around the campus, meeting new people every day and experimenting being free and an adult, a pandemic has come… So, what now? As an international student I was asking myself: Should I go back to my home country of Spain? What about my lectures? Am I going to be in my student accommodation room alone? Is everyone going back home and just some international students will be left here?
Lots of these questions came to my mind, but step by step every answer has unfolded.
I am sure that if you had the chance to go back to your home country, you did. But not everyone has the chance, even if it’s because you don’t want to risk your family’s health, you work here or because you cannot afford a flight back home. There are plenty of reasons you might find yourself far from home, but don’t panic.
If you are home, enjoy it and look after your family. If you are staying in the UK, send an email to your university to make them aware, try to be in touch as much as possible with your family and ask who is around the campus or in your accommodation. If you do find you are in your room alone, remember that everyone is in the same situation, even if they have gone home. There is little physical human interaction for everyone and all your friends and family are just a phone call away.
My university decided not to have any more lectures until after Easter and then, everything will be online. So there are no more chances to go to the campus if you live outside. The deadlines remain the same but some of the material we need for these deadlines won’t be posted until after the handover… which is not very helpful. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is in this situation, hopefully it will be adjusted for all of us!
If you are in the same situation, there is no need to stress, we just need to focus. We will need to read everything by ourselves and if we have any questions, email the teachers and hope they will answer or contact friends on your course who might be able to help. Make sure you have access to some online books through your university website library. Look out for academic book offers such as those from Perlego, who are giving six weeks of free textbooks.
Don’t leave everything until the end, spend some time doing your deadlines plan, a work plan, a fitness plan and a personal plan. Create a timetable for working at home, dedicating 1 or 2 hours for the daily lecture and time for your own work. Maintain an active lifestyle. We know that our student rooms are not big, but there’s enough room to do a yoga, HIIT or home workout and go for a run or walk outside.
Take some personal time every day to get dressed, call your friends or text them, call your family and check social media (not too much to avoid overwhelm). Remember this is not summer holidays, but as soon as we meet ourdeadlines, it will be. And hopefully, by then we will be able to enjoy our holidays as normal.
Don’t forget everyone is in the same situation so call your friends, they will be bored too, or your family and try to do Skype and stay updated as much as possible.
And finally, remember we are not alone, we have people around to support and help us, so if you are struggling with mental health loneliness, not being motivated or feeling low, talk, ask for help. Remember everything is going to be okay and we will see each other in September 2020 for a full academic year, sounds exciting doesn’t it?
If you are worried or stressed, contact your university student support or one of these professional organisations that support young people
Judit currently attends Oxford Brookes University, she is in her first year studying Event Management. She created her own blog in 2019. She enjoys planning events or weddings but sees her career within the marketing sector.