Ngumeritiza's experience of studying remotely as an international student

Ngumeritiza shares her experience of studying during the pandemic, moving home, and studying remotely from abroad.

Video transcript

2021, new year, new me…. Um I mean, same pandemic.

Now being an international student in my final year, I never thought that my dream of walking across the stage with my peers would seem like a distant vision. Being an international student has never been more difficult than at this present time. I mean, covid-19 has changed the way we live all around the world. And for this reason, I want to share my experience as an international student, studying remotely in my final year.

Basically in lock down in March 2020 was announced I find myself in the midst of submission and a soon due year portfolio. For these reasons, I decided to stay in the UK, as I thought that an abrupt move would disrupt my academic process. As an extrovert, I thought the lessened human interaction, as lockdown restrictions tightened, would be difficult. Surprisingly, I enjoyed less human interaction. I finally had the opportunity to silence out the noise and just focus on my academics, while enjoying movie nights with my flatmates as a brief escape from reality.

By June, I completed my academic year, and I was more than ready to go home. Little did I know that I would only have a flight in early September, right before the start of my next academic year. In this period of somewhat being stuck in the UK, my tenancy contract ended, and I had no way of financing a new place in the middle of lockdown. Not having a place of my own worried me and so I sought out help from friends and family within the UK. Reaching out is the best decision I could have done as I ended up staying with friends briefly, and later spent the remaining months with a childhood friend and her mother, who treated me as her own daughter.

As a person of faith I truly felt that God had made away even when I felt that there had been no way for myself. As September approached, repatriation flights became available for Namibian students and a choice to be made and I chose to be close to my family. So there I was about to embark on a 17 hour journey to Windhoek, Namibia, my home.

Little did I know that studying remotely would be a completely different dynamic, that would involve all nighters and early mornings for lectures. As an architecture student, collaboration is a key component in the learning process. And I personally found it challenging as I could no longer walk over to my flatmates room and ask her about my design scheme. Rather, I was waking my mother, an entrepreneur up at 3pm to gain her input on my projects.

Moreover, to achieve my academic goals, I had to become creative in the way I studied. So I gave myself 15 minutes of productivity and 10 minutes of fun stuff. Whether it was listening to music or watching a video or reading. Rewarding myself for little tasks has kept me awake for the hours I spent awake. Although challenging, the experience has been a great eye opener, to the important things in life such as my parents unwavering belief in me, or my niece or nephew yelling at the top of their lungs as I tried to explain my technical drawings to a reviewer.

It has been great being reminded of where I'm from and why I travelled to the UK to study architecture. For this reason I'm forever grateful, grateful to have been blessed with great health in these trying times, grateful that we actually have Zoom and Teams to even continue our studies remotely. And if you have great Wi-Fi I envy you. I truly think that determination goes a long way. And it helped me overcome and somewhat thrive in the midst of so much uncertainty. As my graduation ceremony is soon to be determined as either face-to-face event or a virtual event, for now, I patiently wait for the safest and best outcome. Ultimately by remaining positive and practicing gratitude I've been able to adapt to so many changes I have faced as an international student.