Being a Remote Study Abroad Student

We’re all in a little bit of a weird situation at the moment. Being stuck inside for most of the time isn’t ideal for most things, and it’s especially not helpful when you’re still in school. It’s even worse when you’re supposed to be studying abroad. So many people I know have had their abroad experiences cut short due to COVID-19, and I don’t think many of us are too pleased about it. It’s hard to work from home in the first place without having to navigate classes that are supposed to be influenced by experiencing the place we were visiting. We’re all doing the best we can to cope with our unfortunate circumstances, and I give credit to the professors who are trying to rearrange their classes as best as they can while still being able to provide as much of an “abroad” experience as is possible while stuck at home.

Something that many people recommend to try and make yourself the most “normal” and productive you can be is to try sticking to a schedule most similar to the one you would have living day to day. It can be very hard, especially as a college student to have a consistent schedule in the first place, without navigating being stuck at home. Personally, I usually wake up anywhere between 6:30 and 9am. Luckily, I was studying abroad in a city whose timezone matches my own, so I didn’t need to compensate for that. However, I am in groups with people in varying time zones, so making sure you coordinate with them can be especially important.

It can also be difficult to stick to a regular eating schedule, especially if your sleeping habits are all over the place. It’s tempting to snack if you’re bored or have nothing else to do, and I know plenty of people who have taken up all sorts of baking while quarantined. I am not as active since being home, so my appetite has definitely decreased, because I’m not burning nearly as many calories as I would be normally, but I try to stick to a fairly regular eating schedule, making sure to eat breakfast so I have some energy for the day.

It’s sad that the cuisine of the place you were studying in is not so readily available, but making/eating food that you might abroad can help with missing it a little bit. I’m very thankful to our wonderful Food Writing professor, as she is the highlight of my week, standing in her kitchen and talking with us about all sorts of food topics. The films we watch in our Montreal Films class still provide us with little snippets of Canadian culture, so it never feels like we’re very far.

Classes manage to keep me on at least some sort of a schedule, as well as being able to work for Champlain’s Montreal campus from home. It’s a nice break from my usual schoolwork, and keeps me involved with things in Montreal despite my not physically being there. I miss everyone in Montreal, and it really felt like a great group of people, so it’s sad not to have gotten the full amount of time with them. At least we’re not too far away on the internet, and we’re still able to check in and chat with everyone. 

Overall, it’s important to take care of yourself in these wild times. Personally, all of this has been extremely hard for me, especially since I love Montreal and want to go back as soon as possible. Give yourself a break, stay home and be safe. You don’t need to get fit, learn a new skill, start a business, etc. Stay sane and healthy, and this will all be over soon.

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