From college-edition cook to self-proclaimed plant mum, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) student Sewmay shares her personal experience on how she’s adjusting to life as a first-year international student during the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia.
What are you studying?
I am studying first-year Information Technology at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
How are you finding student life during COVID-19?
Student life has taken a 180 turn for me. I had to quickly learn how to participate in Zoom meetings to get feedback for my assignments and using email most of the time to communicate with my teachers. This is a bit of a struggle because there is clearly a difference between virtual and face-to-face interaction.
Although I very much prefer attending lectures in person, online lectures haven't been all that bad. I find that I concentrate more, and I am able to take a few breaks if needed. I also don't have to run for my lectures, which is a good thing.
What are you struggling with the most?
As an international student, financial hardships are being faced by many, including me, with most casual jobs being unavailable.
As an introvert, however, I am not facing any issues with loneliness. I have developed ways to keep myself entertained by cooking new food, baking, journaling, blogging, binge-watching k-dramas, and watching TikToks while curled up in bed for hours.
I do get homesick every once in a while, so I call my parents and try to cook comfort food that my mother makes so I can get a taste of home. Eventually, once that void is filled, I am back to being myself.
What have you learned about yourself?
As trivial as it sounds, I have learned that I am a good cook. I have always considered myself to be that person who will one day burn down the kitchen after I enter it, but I haven't done it yet so I think I am doing pretty okay.
What surprised me the most during this time is that I have become merrier and been able to do things that I wanted to do for so long. In my case, this is to eat all the food that I have always wanted to make but didn't have the time to devote to cooking.
On a more serious note, I have learned to be more independent, take precautionary actions, plan ahead and treasure every minute in every new day.
What hobbies, skills or superpowers have you picked up?
I am a self-proclaimed plant mom except I don't own my own plants. Instead, I take care of my housemates' plants. Does that count? I hope so!
I have also started singing, dancing and drawing. So far, they are very mediocre, but I am trying. The main skill I have discovered about myself is that I am good with making desserts and coming up with ‘college-edition’ food.
What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to Korean fried chicken with my friends and boba – I miss boba a lot! and of course, having a very healthy environment for all beings to live in.
Loved reading Sewmay's story?
You can explore more stories by international students in our blog.