Remote study tips for international students

As universities in the UK and across most of the world have now closed for face-to-face lectures, we’re left in an unprecedented scenario when it comes to learning. As international students, some of you may have been able to return home during this time while others might still be in the same location as your university. While much is unknown at the moment, this is a time to focus on parts of your life that are constant during this time of upheaval. For most students this will be your work for university, using this time at home to benefit your degree can help give you purpose in a world of uncertainty.

Can home-study be effective?

The short answer is, yes! Working at home may not be your usual routine but it’s important to try to be adaptable while keeping within the guidelines set by your government to ensure your safety. Here are our suggestions for how to make the best use of your time at home;

  1. Stick to your routine. While it may not be possible to do what you normally would, creating a “new normal” is important. Try to do what will make you feel the most productive for your day. Get dressed for the day like you would for university and write the hours you will be working so you can hold yourself accountable and not let your progress slip.
  2. Create a dedicated workspace. Work with what you’ve got, if you have the space to set up a desk somewhere, perfect. If not, get creative but try to separate your work and sleeping space if you can. By doing this, you’ll have clearer guidelines for your working and leisure time.
  3. Stay connected. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, try to stay in touch with your classmates so that you can catch up on progress, ideas and tips. Check-in with your lecturers when necessary and ask them for advice if you need help with an area of work.
  4. Take screen breaks to give yourself a rest, include this in your daily routine as these breaks improve productivity and the quality of your work.
  5. Find online opportunities. There are several great services which need help and are offers things for communities. Are there online learning or voluntary work opportunities you could find that would increase your skills from home?
  6. Find a learning buddy. Is there something you're really good at? Can you share those skills with another student on your course in exchange for a topic they’re good at?
  7. Stay positive. While current conditions may not be ideal, everything is an opportunity, and this could be one to accelerate some of your learning without so many life distractions. Reward yourself for completing study tasks with something you enjoy doing later in the day.

Don’t forget to balance work with wellbeing

It’s equally as important to keep a check on your wellbeing while spending so much time at home. There are lots of ways to do this, and all of these methods are free.

  1. Get regular exercise. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and will get your body moving. If you are unable to get outside, try online videos on YouTube or Instagram where you’ll find high-intensity workouts for those that want to feel the burn or Yoga and Pilates classes. Many private trainers are now providing free versions of their classes for those who need it.
  2. Try daily meditation or mindfulness techniques. These can reduce stress, reduce pain and even improve sleep. Headspace is now offering free meditations to help in the current climate and Insight Timer is a free meditation app built to support mental health.
  3. Take note of your social media channels. There is an overwhelming amount of information online and now is a good time to unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good and replace them with inspiring ones.
  4. Learn a new skill. Whether this is keeping up with old hobbies or learning a new one, we are all currently “time rich”, so try something new. Ever wished you could learn a new language, now’s the time! It doesn’t have to be something big, drawing, knitting or playing an instrument- just give it a go.
  5. Stay connected. Some of you may be away from home and loved ones. Keep in touch over the phone or video chats so you can still see your favourite faces and reach out to someone if you’re not feeling yourself.

What’s important at the moment is trying to keep as much normality as possible. Creating a home study plan that supports your studies will give you a sense of achievement that can be difficult if your usual routine is different. If you feel on top of your work, how about getting in touch with your lecturer to ask about tasks or reading you can do that will help prepare you for the next year of your course. GradLink will continue to support the needs of international students and graduates with the latest news and free advice and information on our website and look out for updates on our social media channels.

By Jen Garmston Published: Mar 30,2020

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