Many students across Australia have recently transitioned to a very different type of learning, taking their course online and doing most of their study at home. We reached out to two students studying at Charles Sturt University Study Centres who have moved to face-to-face virtual blended learning, which combines the fantastic education, support and high-quality teaching usually offered by their education provider with a virtual classroom. They offered some insight into how they’ve adjusted to the change, as well as some tips for learning online.
Meet Kripa Gosai
Kripa hails from a district of Nepal called Bhaktapur. After completing a Bachelor of IT in Kathmandu, she worked in the IT industry for a year, though always wanted to take her IT education further. “Sadly, the education system in my country is not so good,” she says. “I wanted to experience a high-level education system, so I decided to go abroad.”
After some research, Kripa settled on a Master of IT at Charles Sturt University Study Centres in Sydney for its affordable fees and excellent course structure.
Life in Australia
Kripa tells us she’s had many amazing experiences in Australia. One thing that helped Kripa settle into life Down Under was the climate. “The weather is like my home country, so it did not take [long] to settle in.”
Studying in Sydney also allowed Kripa to try new experiences. “I visited the beach for the first time – that was a new experience for me,” she says.
But that’s not all she loves about the country: “Australia is blessed with amazing healthcare and world-class education,” she says. “Australia occupies a huge continent with a diversity of landscapes.
“Even the people were so welcoming, so I am having a great time.”
Studying for a career in IT
Kripa has a love for the technology sector. Typically a male-dominated industry, she hopes to be a champion of change. “[I want to] encourage girls to be in one of the top positions in the IT field,” she says.
Reflecting on her time studying through Charles Sturt University Study Centres, she says: “Studying at Charles Sturt University is going to be a lifetime memory. Here, [uni] not only focuses on study, but also on extracurricular activities.”
Transition to online study
The transition from in-class to online study was a shock for Kripa initially, but after her first week, she started to enjoy the experience. She is now starting to embrace the concept of face-to-face virtual blended learning and studying at home. She also found communicating with her lecturers and friends easy, and enjoys chatting with them regularly.
“Lecturers share their experience of how they are spending their days, and we even get the chance to share our experiences,” she says.
Kripa recommends edX and LinkedIn Learning (both of which offer a huge range of online courses) as valuable learning platforms for students. She has also benefited from limiting her use of social media during this time, while still remaining connected to others.
Meet Bobby Shrestha
Bobby comes from Kathmandu, Nepal, and always had an interest in studying abroad. So, she researched different countries to determine the best place to continue her studies. “I had to consider a lot of factors, as I would be living there for at least three to five years,” Bobby says. While her parents were holidaying in Australia, she asked them to explore life there and to compare different cities in Australia. Luckily for Bobby, they decided Australia was a good place for international students to study and grow, and Bobby’s journey in Australia began.
Life in Australia
At first, Bobby found adjusting to a new life in Australia tough. However, she didn’t experience homesickness, as she had already lived apart from her family back home.
Bobby says she loves Australia for its diversity and multicultural background. “You get to meet and be friends with people from all over the world who have different cultures,” she says. She believes this can help you become open-minded and learn about different races, cultures and countries.
Bobby studies and lives in Melbourne and loves the coffee capital for its foodie culture. “I love going out to eat and try different kinds of foods,” she says. “The restaurant culture is quite vibrant here, so going out to eat in different places makes living here exciting.”
Studying for a career in accounting
Bobby decided to study a Bachelor of Accounting, as it’s a respected profession that also allows her to work with numbers and understand figures. Her degree at Charles Sturt University Study Centres in Melbourne allows her to explore other areas of study in the form of electives. “For example, I can acquire knowledge for brand marketing and business statistics along with accounting,” she says.
Bobby appreciates that her course doesn’t limit her learning. She also credits the events team at Charles Sturt University Study Centres for their proactiveness and welcoming of students’ opinions. Now, she is a Student Representative herself. “We work with events managers to organise creative and innovative events and activities for students so that they don’t feel monotonous,” she says.
Transition to face-to-face virtual blended learning
“Charles Sturt University Study Centres in Melbourne made the transition to online learning very smooth and easy for the students,” Bobby says. Online workshops and constant communication about updates via email are just some of the ways they stay connected. So, for Bobby, the transition was effortless, and she experienced no issues in attending lectures or contacting her coordinators.
Bobby recommends using a good internet connection and a reliable laptop or phone for online study. Another essential aspect for Bobby is her set-up at home, where she dedicates a separate room to study. “I feel that [the] human brain associates bed with [a] resting place, so we tend to be lazy,” she says. “I always studied in [the] uni library and spent most of my days there. So, when the uni shut down [due to COVID-19], I had to create a study space at my house and get used to it.
Bobby also suggests Udemy for online courses. “The website gives you the freedom to choose from various online courses, from banking to nursing.”
Further to that, Bobby recommends optimising your LinkedIn profile, as future employers will want to see what you did during this pandemic and how you coped with the change. She reminds students to stay positive. “[Don’t] lose hope and motivation,” she says. “You are getting the education and moving forward with the degree as per usual.
“We are blessed that we can connect with anyone from around the globe via laptops and other digital tools.”