Student Life During Covid-19 Pandemic

As a Gambian studying abroad during this Covid-19 pandemic, just like any other international student, I would say I am excited but a little sad at the same time. The exciting part is having the opportunity to experience learning outside the Gambia, interacting with other cultures in Indonesia. The sad part is me having to stay indoors due to the pandemic.

Two years ago, I would never have imagined that there would be a time when people would be locked in their own homes, businesses, schools, and even working places having to shift online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 is one of the most easily transmissible diseases that has overwhelmed the entire world, and Indonesia is no exception. Indonesia witnessed the onset of the Covid-19 in March 2020, and the country has registered more than 75,000 confirmed cases and over 3,500 deaths. As the Covid case continues to rise, the government in many countries including Indonesia implemented a countrywide lockdown to lower new infections. With the lockdown, people are forced to stay home and observe social distancing. This, of course, has had other impacts beyond the spread of the virus itself, including social and educational implications.Firstly, Covid has impacted social life most especially social gatherings as medical experts have advised social distancing. For me, it has not changed my social life drastically as I have always been a homie. I am used to staying in my room most of the time since I have only a few friends outside BINUS SQUARE. However, I was affected by the restrictions in place. Sometimes I want to go to the mall or meet up with friends only to realize that I must take permission from the international office before being the green light. These stressful moments had me ask myself how long it was going to take to remain stuck in the house without meeting my friends or going to the malls based on my own convenient time. WhatsApp and Instagram have helped a lot and made me feel alive during these moments. I reached out to friends through video calls or voice messages.


Secondly, the closure of universities was not the best experience for me. The most noticeable impact I experienced was the difference in the online lectures previously conducted face to face. I am an activist type of learner, meaning I prefer the experimental aspect of learning through trial and error and love new experiences. This made online learning difficult and frustrating for me to understand because I want to interact with other learners.

Although pandemic has been a challenging period for everyone, it also offers so many opportunities to become better individuals. I agree that life was more outgoing before Covid. Yet staying indoors made me more occupied and entertained. I used to hate watching historical documentaries. Ironically, I now enjoy historical documentaries and movies compared to other entertainments. I now spend most of my time watching documentaries on the Islamic Caliphate and early empires like the Seljuk, Ottoman, Byzantine, etc. Also, I have discovered my learning strategies through self-actualization. Moreover, I now spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos on the lessons we had previously covered for better understanding.

My survival tip is to be adaptable to change and never be restricted by any external force. Exercise, eat healthily and interact with people online or face-to-face with safe health protocols that can help you relieve stress. Maintain a healthy social life and adopt a learning style that best suits you as a person.

Fatou Gitteh (BI International Business, Int'l Student, Gambia)

Fatou Gitteh (BI International Business, Int'l Student, Gambia)

BI, International Business, Int'l Student, Gambia