What is it like to be an international student in a global pandemic?
Hello! My name is Ananda, but people call me Zee, and I am from Indonesia. I am a student ambassador for Bellerbys College Brighton. I started school in September 2020 (in the middle of the global pandemic, just like everyone else) and am currently undertaking A Levels.
You must be pretty anxious about starting school in a whole different country, right? Why else would you be reading a blog about someone you’ve never met?
Is it hard not being on campus?
Despite a couple of problems that I encountered in the beginning, not to mention the distance and time difference between Jakarta and the UK, I was never lost. At Bellerbys, there is always someone to guide me, be it a teacher or a member of staff, they are all very helpful.
What is the study plan like?
Because of the pandemic, the time difference allows me to start classes later in the afternoon than in the morning (I very much enjoy that). I start my enrichment activities at 2pm (Indonesia time) and my classes are from 3 to 6pm, then I have my tutor group meeting until 7.30pm. I then continue my studies later at night. I create my own working space that helps me get into the rhythm of studying and makes it as comfortable and personal as I can. My working space has loads of highlighters and colourful pens for note taking, and of course plenty of water so I stay hydrated.
How do you make friends online?
Yes, it is much more complicated making friends when you’re not seeing them in real life, and yes, they might think you’re odd for starting a conversation with them out of nowhere, but it is so worth it. I had my first friend from Bellerbys after I reached out to her through Instagram, this was even before my course had started. Having a friend as you experience everything new is so much better than doing it alone. If starting conversations on social media isn’t your cup of tea, that’s where enrichment clubs come along, the clubs are intimate (from three to 15 people) so you get to really know your classmates.
I hope you enjoy your studies as much as I do! I can’t wait to come to Brighton and meet everyone!