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International students settle back into life on campus

Starting university can be one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life. There are people to meet, places to explore, and parties to attend. But when borders shut indefinitely, university life looked different – particularly for students stuck on the other side of the world.

Bond University Bachelor of Health Sciences student, Pooja Jaiswal, decided to make the most of her university experience, despite being ten thousand kilometres from campus. Confined to her family home in India due to Covid-19 lockdowns, Pooja joined the Bond University Student Association (BUSA), to better connect with her university community.

“I spent the first year of my degree studying remotely overseas. When studying online, it feels like you are behind the scenes watching over the class, so it is difficult to stay focussed and engaged. I reached out to the student association and ended up joining. As the Future Student Liaison at BUSA, I began making connections everywhere,” tells Pooja.

Over the course of the year, Pooja’s network grew and in January this year, a BUSA representative was there to greet her when she touched down in Australia.  

“A member of BUSA picked me up from the airport and drove me to the campus. People here are really helpful and nice. My advice to international students is not to be shy. Reach out. There’s so many people available to help you.”

Whilst studying remotely had its social challenges, for Pooja, the biggest challenge was not being able to complete the practical subjects of her degree.

“I really missed that feeling of being in a lab. I’ve always been passionate about chemistry, so when I finally got to Bond and got to do my lab subjects, it felt so good. I’m looking forward to gaining work experience here, before going back to my country and using my knowledge. I’m excited to see where life takes me.”

This article appears in the current edition of Bond University's alumni magazine The Arch.

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