WTI Scholar Responses to Covid-19

When the current Covid-19 situtation first struck the UK, WTI Postgraduate Scholars were asked whether they would prefer to stay in the UK or to return home. All chose to stay until the end of their courses. They've each written a few words about how they've been coping and how the virus is affecting their lives.

Grace at International Students' House - Windle Trust International

When the current Covid-19 situtation first struck the UK, WTI Postgraduate Scholars were asked whether they would prefer to stay in the UK or to return home. All chose to stay until the end of their courses. They've each written a few words about how they've been coping and how the virus is affecting their lives.

Damaris​

University of Sussex

“For me Covid-19 has really been an eye opener. I can’t deny that when the pandemic started, I was so scared but with time I have learnt to cope as this is a situation the whole world is going through, and no place is safe now. This is why I chose to stay: as much as I wanted to go home and stay with my family, I also wanted to finish my degree here as this is the only place that would give me an ideal learning environment. I have been able to devise some coping mechanisms; working out in my room every single morning from Monday to Friday, meditating in the evening, journaling the things I am grateful for every single day and my everyday feelings. Studying has been going on well, thanks to the lecturers who have been so committed to supporting us despite everything and the university accommodation has been able to keep everything as usual with more emphasis on cleanliness and ensuring the flats are well maintained.

I feel okay now about the situation because everything seems to work out, I keep in touch with my classmates and other African students once a week through Zoom talks. Being far away from home currently has not been so easy but I feel the love from all my family and friends because we have been in touch with them. One of my biggest lessons I would take from the situation is that anything is possible, and things can work out as long as we have a positive mindset - who ever thought we would survive without physical human interactions? The other lesson is that everyone in our lives is very important - the cleaners, drivers, nurses -everyone plays a key role in each other’s life so respect is key. Otherwise I am doing well and keeping safe.”

 

Sule

Bangor University

“Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, as you know it struck every country including the UK with a surprising magnitude. Bangor University raced a step ahead of it and put up well-structured strategies ensuring studies goes on as usual. At the time it became apparent that face to face lectures couldn’t hold any more, I had three weeks to conclude my semester two lectures. The university swiftly shifted to online lectures which initially sounded scary but later, the three weeks were all fun. When I concluded my online lectures on April 1, 2020, I was left yearning for more and the whole online learning experience motivated me so much that I will consider exploring future opportunities for online learning, something that never crossed my mind prior to the pandemic.  I was allocated my research supervisor on 1st/04/2020 and am now in close communication as I start my preliminary work on my systematic review for my dissertation.

Despite the pandemic denying me the opportunity to use the university reading spaces or library, business continues as usual given the good internet access and unlimited access to the online university library resources in addition to several online journals the university subscribed to from the comfort of my room. All the supermarkets operate normally with safety measures of social distancing in place. The continued scholarship assurance and other support I receive from the office, Commonwealth and the university keeps me focused. The daily video chats I have with my family are a very important driving force as usual. I am determined to submit all my assignments including the dissertation as scheduled.”

 

Irene

University of Leeds

“I have had about 5 online learning sessions which were quite interesting as I got to interact with course-mates digitally after a long time. I have learnt to manage my time well and be punctual for online class so the mind is always tuned at the time lectures starts exactly no cheating even for a minute. Flexibility is a great lesson for me because all these were not planned by the University so, I have to adapt and cope with the technology. I had not used Skype and other online communication mediums but I had to learn it the hard way and am now good at digital communications. I have also found all the cheaper means of being in touch with family and friends using Skype to directly call family back home or planet talk etc.  The situation of Covid 19 is really unpredictable I keep wondering when things will normalise since the world seems to lack answers to the pandemic apart from lock-down. 

Being far away from family makes it stressful at times but coping with it through social media also makes me addicted to social media. 

I do get support from the University and my accommodation as well through emails which are quite helpful and most importantly my personal tutor who checks on me every week, I feel I am part of his family now.”

 

James

University of Leeds

“If I said the lockdown has not affected me then I would be lying. However, I look at the positive side. The lockdown came into effect when we were almost finished with the second-semester lectures, so we had a few online lectures which were remarkably amazing, everyone attends lectures from wherever they were in this world and was able to contribute in the lecture. To me, the lockdown has created a suitable environment to work my assignments both group and individual assignments. We organize group discussions on Microsoft teams to coordinate group assignments, I also use the time to work on my individual assignments and prepare for the forthcoming end of semester online examinations. I do not really have too much time to think about the lockdown because I am always busy either working on my assignments or video conferencing with my family back home, something that lifts my spirit. Though I miss days of going to the gym and for evening walks to the parks, I sometimes get envious with the shining sun which I eagerly waited the whole of the winter for. I try my best to self-Isolate in my accommodation, but cases like going out to shop groceries in the supermarkets; taking a moment to do exercises, no one knows what will happen next, but in a nutshell, I am in good spirits and looking forward to completing my course.”

 

James

Oxford Brookes University

“I thank the Windle Trust family for their unwavering support throughout this daunting of the COVID 19. The unexpected moment caught me off-guard to be sincere. It was in the middle of the semester when the Coronavirus was so serious in Wuhan,  China,  I could not even think of it either because my mind was fully occupied by lectures, writing essays, attending group essay discussions and going to the library to study.

All the rumours about the Covid-19 skipped my mind until the last day when I saw an official email from the University reminding all the students and lecturers to stay indoors and to continue with their studies online until further communications follow. This was the time I came to know that Covid-19 was real. Since then, everything has been moving on smoothly, I do my studies online, checking on my family almost daily, interacting with colleagues/friends online and staying safe in my accommodations without disturbances.

To me, the year 2020, is a great year for all of us. The year that has not only showed our individual self-reliance but also the global resilience for firmly facing the Coronavirus risks together. I celebrate the fact that I am a student this year and I will have a lot to tell myself and the young generation to come we are winners and God is our shelter!”

 

Grace

University of Westminster

“The COVID-19 global pandemic has thrown the world into a state of frenzy and uncertainty of what the future will look like once we make it through these dark times. As a post-graduate student this year, the reality of this new world is surreal, and I have felt its impact on my studies and wellbeing. The imminent closure of universities and schools across the entire country in response to health guidelines, though a necessary measure, cultivated fear and anxiety stemming from foreseeing my blurred future. I felt the transition to online studies and assessments to help us continue with our education, was a remarkable touch by the University and my hopes for completion were alive again. However, the concept seemed somewhat foreign to me since my course involves practical sessions and a final laboratory-based research project undertaken towards the end of the course. It is unlikely that I will be able to gain these critical skills following the University's confirmation of cancellation of all practical based projects. It is tough to digest. But there’s always a silver lining and an opportunity to learn something different, which I am currently exploring with my supervisors. I have learnt that in times of crisis like this, it is better to focus on the positive to rise above the unforeseeable challenges it presents successfully. In my experience, social distancing and self-isolation have the potential to drive one into loneliness and depression. So I am using this time to strengthen my connections with friends and family and appreciating the little things around me more. I am limiting my time on the internet due to the avalanche of information it's always throwing back at me, and instead focus on my assignments and health. My gratitude towards the International Students’ House for recognizing the impact that the crisis can have on student health is immense. Through their weekly activities such as yoga, Zumba and discussions centered around mental health, I am working on my physical fitness, and mental soundness which I believe are vital ingredients in coping in this situation.”

 

James

Bangor University

“When COVID-19 broke out in the UK, it brought a lot of fear. As it intensified and the university cancelled face to face teaching, a feeling of uncertainty filled my thoughts and the news on every media outlet reminded me of one thing “obeying the government regulations” to increase my  chances of survival and save others. Now to deal with the current situation, I have focused on doing my university assignments and preparing for online examinations during the lock down and I meet my supervisor on Skype to get guidance on my dissertation. To stay mentally healthy during this trying moment, I speak with my family on a daily basis to assure them that I am fine and also get to know how they are doing back home. Once in a while go out of the room to get fresh air and relax my mind for like 30mins, do indoor exercise and listen to music. I have also reduced my shopping to bi-weekly to reduce my movements to the grocery store.

 

Lucy

University of Warwick

“Fortunately, the lockdown was announced when I had already finished my lectures, but I will have my dissertation supervised online next term.  However, the situation frustrated me a bit because I was worried as to how I will cope, and the way people talk about this pandemic was so scary for me to the extent I could not concentrate especially on my assignments for about two weeks. I decided to completely isolate myself from talking to people and I didn’t want to either read or listen to news about the pandemic otherwise I would breakdown beyond repair. I kept myself away from it by listening to church music, praying, meditating and attending mass online. All these strengthened my faith and helped me to build strong hope for my future. Social media also boasted my morale and helped me to stay connected to my loved ones back home especially my kids and mum. During this hard time of staying home, I usually visit the stores once in a month though.

We have weekly guidance and support from the University (newsletter) and my department on how to read and stay safe during this hard time. The University NHS as well gives advice on what to do in case one does not feel well. My personal tutor is just like a dad to me, he has not left me alone, we are always in touch.  All in all, I am doing well at the moment and writing my assignments and I know that one day this situation will come to pass and it will be history to tell, we shall all meet and once again cheer up together though it has frustrated us somehow.”

 

Ambrose

UCL Institute of Education

“My life has radically changed in a matter of months due to the corona-virus pandemic. As I know, this novel corona-virus has made people around the world more vulnerable and precarious. Many people are losing their lives day and night. The whole system has come to a standstill! The current challenges brought by COVID-19 pandemic will enable me to write a book in a near future and the Title of a Book will be "A LESSON FROM COVID-19".

Of course, like other Universities, UCL IOE has adopted online alternatives for teaching and assessment with effect from Terms 2 and 3. Although the situation is unfavourable at the moment, I can cope with it and finish my course by the end of this academic year. Lastly, I'm always in touch with my family, friends, and Goodenough College's staff. My sincere thanks go to the College for the excellent accommodation, career guidance and hospitality exhibited by its staff to me right from the beginning up-to-date.”

 

David

Bangor University

“I am grateful to let you know that I am doing well and despite the unprecedented occurrences of events due to Covid-19, resilience has started building and things are starting to appear normal, although it’s still far from being normal.

The university began its online classes on 23rd March and most of them ended a week before Easter break with a pile of assignments begging completion before May. This is what I am busy doing right now whilst also preparing for the summer exams which will also be done online. 

In this regard, I can say however much the situation has been overwhelming, it has not affected my studies to a great extent. The university has developed measures to ensure the safety of students and staff and the quality of studies are safeguarded and prioritized. This includes providing accommodation for international students until the end of the contract period besides providing important information and key guidelines on how to be safe from Covid-19. I am also grateful for the committed donors that have ensured their continual support to scholars despite the fall of economies globally due to the widespread impact of this unforgiving pandemic.

Mentally, at this moment, I am relaxed and calm and able to focus on my studies unlike when the pandemic was emerging, it was hard to be certain on what will happen next. I am in touch with my family members and they are healthy and safe. The only prayer is that everything goes on well, because the feeling of losing a family member during this pandemic is more traumatising than never since you can’t be there for them and neither can they be there for you.”