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5 Ways For International Students to Cope With the Ongoing Pandemic

For many international students, attending college in person seems like ages ago. As the spring semester begins, here are some tips for international students to maximize their learning while being remote.

Find courses that offer asynchronous options to accommodate your time zone

Many international students try to keep up with the pace by attending courses synchronously. Often, this means going to bed late or waking up at difficult hours. Courses that offer asynchronous options allow international students to rewatch the lecture afterward rather than stay up late for a class. Although attending asynchronously may reduce the quality of a class to a certain degree, it’s an alternative option that allows international students to focus on their health and wellbeing. 

Look for office hours that best fit your schedule

Just as some courses may be at difficult hours, attending office hours may not always be doable, either. The good news is that most professors and TAs have multiple office hours to accommodate international students. Finding a time that best fits your schedule can help clarify any questions while also prioritizing your wellbeing. Students can also email and reach out to faculty to see if additional office hours and outside help are offered.

Find classmates that take the same courses and arrange to study together

Studying with others can help to retain the information and to build connections with classmates. Students can work on problem sets together, answer each other’s questions and share ideas about the course. For some students, studying with others can also help to build community despite the geographical distance. 

Meet up with other students nearby to connect with members of the college community

Meeting and reaching out to other students who live near you and share similar interests is another way to stay engaged in the community. Some students may be able to meet in person, with precautions, in places where COVID-19 outbreaks are more contained. 

Use WeWork and other local resources provided by your university

To help students academically, many colleges and universities have offered WeWork and other services for international students. WeWork offers physical and online spaces where students and faculties can interact, meet, and coordinate with others. For instance, some international students utilize WeWork to host social and academic events so that students feel connected to the college community. It’s worth seeing what the college provides and utilizing these tools to help support your academic desires. 

Although being remote may be disappointing and challenging, there are ways to combat the on-going struggles of online learning as an international student during the pandemic and to have as close to a normal college experience as possible. I hope this article can give international students more insights and ideas on how to combat the challenges they are faced with while learning remotely!

Lily Cai

Columbia Barnard '23

Lily is a sophomore at Barnard College, intending to double major in economics and computer science. Apart from school, she loves trying out new food and cuisines. She also enjoys listening to music, reading books, and watching Netflix. Lily would love to meet new people and feel free to reach out to her!
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