The chatroom: students talk about their study amid the pandemic

2020 has been difficult for students around the world as many schools are closed due to the pandemic and students have had to modify or postpone their study plans. Internships and employment opportunities have also declined due to the murky global economic situation.

In the latest episode of CGTN’s new live broadcast program “The Chat Room” airing Saturday, CGTN invited several students from France, Niger, Australia, Singapore and China and a teacher from Tsinghua University to share their stories about studying amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and adjusting to the new semester. Tsinghua University, located in Beijing, the Chinese capital, is one of the best and most famous universities in the country. The school has developed online courses to meet the needs of Chinese and foreign students.

Live: Can campus life get back to normal when students return?

“The Chat Room” aired on Saturday. / CGTN

“The Chat Room” aired on Saturday. / CGTN

The students’ point of view on e-learning

Graduate student Natalie Meyer said she liked online classes because her classes are always at opportune times – sometimes they are in the evenings and sometimes in the afternoon, so in addition to studying, she can also participate in local activities in Australia.

Katherin Thouvenin, a French journalism graduate student at Tsinghua University, said she preferred face-to-face lessons because online lessons require a lot of self-discipline. “You’re less focused when you’re online than when you’re in a classroom,” she says.

Zhu Guiping, associate dean in charge of teaching at Tsinghua’s electrical engineering department, said they had no choice but to teach classes online in the spring semester. The school put a lot of effort into designing the e-learning software and provided free internet data to teachers and students. The policy continues into the fall semester. During the new semester, most Chinese students returned to their various campuses and school halls. But online courses will continue for many international students. Classrooms have been updated to ensure that no matter where the student is, they can attend class in real time and ask questions at any time.

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The changes brought about by the pandemic

Thouvenin said he saw many more articles published by citizen journalists during the pandemic. So she would like to help people report more professionally so that the quality of news content online can be improved.

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Some students got involved in a lot of community work during the pandemic. English Major Zhang Jiawen became a volunteer teacher during the pandemic, teaching international students how to properly use the online course system.

Mahamadou Ali Ide Madougou, an undergraduate student who did not return to China during the pandemic, provided the latest information on the prevention and treatment of the outbreak by reporting the news to his hometown.

“The Chat Room” aired on Saturday. / CGTN

“The Chat Room” aired on Saturday. / CGTN

Students talk about their future plans

Cassandra Ler, a Singaporean student who graduated from Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management, hopes the pandemic can be brought under control as soon as possible, so she can travel to Geneva to study as planned. Natalie said she currently works for three organizations, including a media company in Shanghai, a local NGO in Australia, and a China-Australia joint venture. She hopes to find a career path that will suit her future career direction before graduating next year. Thouvenin says she hopes to work in television after graduation, while Madougou says he hopes to return to Niger in the future and use what he has learned to do something for his hometown.

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