The Chat Room: Students talk about their study amid the pandemic
Updated 19:03, 13-Sep-2020

2020 has been tough for students around the world, as many school are closed due to the pandemic, and students have had to change or postpone their study plans. Internships and job opportunities have also decreased due to the murky world economic situation.

In the latest episode of CGTN's new livestreaming program "The Chat Room" aired on 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 adapting to the new semester. Tsinghua University, located in Beijing, China's capital, is one of the best and most famous universities in the country. The school has developed online courses to meet the needs of students from both China and abroad. 

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

"The Chat Room" aired on Saturday. /CGTN

"The Chat Room" aired on Saturday. /CGTN

Students' views on e-learning

Natalie Meyer, a graduate student, said she likes the online classes because her classes are always at convenient times – sometimes they are in the evenings and sometimes in the afternoons, so besides studying, she can also engage in local activities in Australia.

Katherin Thouvenin, a French graduate student studying journalism at Tsinghua University, said she prefers face-to-face classes, as online courses require a lot of self-discipline. "You are less focused when you are online than when you are in a classroom," she said.

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


The changes brought by the pandemic

Thouvenin said she has seen a lot more articles posted by citizen journalists during the pandemic. So, she would like to help people report more professionally so that the quality of online news content can be improved.


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 use the online course system properly.

Mahamadou Ali Ide Madougou, an undergraduate student who did not return to China during the pandemic, provided the latest information on epidemic prevention and treatment by reporting the related news in 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 graduate student in the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University, hopes that the pandemic can be under control as soon as possible, so she can go to Geneva to study as planned. Natalie said she is currently working for three organizations, including a media company in Shanghai, a local NGO in Australia and a Sino-Australian joint venture. She hopes to find a career path that suits her future career direction before she graduates 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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