Life under lockdown has been challenging for us all, but particularly for our international students who have been unable to return home and are, in some cases, thousands of miles away from family. We have been checking in with some of them to see how they are coping with lockdown life in Dundee.

Susu Chen is from Wenzhou in the Zhejiang province of China. She is studying for a Masters in International Business and Management.

What attracted you to come to Dundee to study?

The size of the city attracted me a lot, because Dundee is the fourth biggest city of Scotland, not too big or small. I liked my previous experience of international study, when I was a student in South Korea in a city that was the same size as Dundee. There were not many Chinese students or travellers so I had more chance to talk and learn from local citizens. As a result, I am really good speaking South Korean language. It was good for me both for academic and culture.

Have you felt the information provided to students by the University has helped keep you informed of the coronavirus situation and how it affects you and the University?

I think the information provided to students by the University has helped me a lot during the coronavirus period. My School and professors have tried to stay in touch with us always when we have been needing a help. We have always been provided with information about how to stay safe and keep our studies going. It has been really helpful. Because of this information, I did not miss any deadline and finished my classes and course assignments successfully online.

Also, the Global Room and the English for International Students (EIS) team are always helpful to international students who are not native English speakers, for our academic study and always giving us care. For example, the Global Room every week will send us an email at least twice a week to teach us how to keep healthy life style at home and how to protect us in the coronavirus.

As a result, even though I am doing online classes at home, I do not feel alone and always think my School and all school workers are with us. It seems we are a family to pass the difficult time together.

Thank you to Global Room workers, EIS team workers and university workers to give me a help and provide so much information. I am doing well!

Have you been in Dundee throughout the period of lockdown?

I have been in Dundee since the lockdown started.

What has been your experience of lockdown? Are you with friends or family, or on your own?

In the period of lockdown, I have been staying at home with only my flatmate. I only go outside for necessary shopping about twice a month.

During the period of lockdown, I have found Career Services and EIS support team really helpful for me. For example, the Career Services always provides some nice presentations and career guides for me to study. They also helped me finish the Business Plus Award successfully. So, I think even though I have only been able to take online classes during lockdown, I do not miss any good opportunities to study. I still have many chances to improve my skills.

Have you felt safe and supported?

To be honest, at the beginning, I did not feel safe and supported, because my parents are not in the UK. I felt alone and helpless.

But I am grateful because the University care about us and has sent us information to show us how to keep safe. This has helped feel much better. For example, Global Room and EIS have given us calls using Team app so we can share our experience and talk with others. As result, I do not feel helpless and know how to keep safe and also I can feel I can get support when I need from the University.

I have had academic support but also support in improving my skills. Thank you to Career Services, as I have learned how to improve my skills to prepare for my future career.

The University has had to change how we deliver courses and exams & assessments. How have you adapted to that?

To be honest, as a not native English speaker, it was really difficult at first to take online classes and finish all the coursework but now I have adapted. I have learned how to study alone at home.

How have you been spending your time in lockdown when you aren’t studying? Have you been learning a new skill, having Zoom parties with friends and family or doing something entirely different?

Because now I have more time at home I do not want to waste my time too much. I have learned how to use Zoom to do things like applying for a student award. Also, I am taking online piano lessons too to practice my piano skills. I have also been learning how to cook different kind of food, because now when we can only eat at home I do not want to eat the same food every day.

What are your hopes and concerns now?

It is not my first time to study abroad. I really want to have more experiences, not only academic study. I hope we might have a graduation ceremony in November. Now, I am focused on my dissertation. I really hope I can finish it successfully.