With many students potentially choosing to defer their studies and others having to take lessons remotely, the next academic year will most certainly be one of significant disruption.
But what if you treated this year as an opportunity?
At HSBC, we're committed to connecting people internationally, building long-term relationships, and offering products and services that help customers, including students, reach their goals and aspirations.
To understand how to make online learning work and how to stay connected, we asked students studying abroad to share their experiences with us. We also asked some of our education partners from top educational institutions to share their advice for students as they head into a new term. This is what they said.
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Hear how students around the world are making this their #YearofOpportunity
Annika So, San Diego, USA (Class of 2023) (Hong Kong)
Write deadlines and meetings down in your current timezone to avoid confusion. Even if you don't use a full planner, at least keep a to-do list. Simply writing down to-do's when you're overwhelmed makes you calmer, as seeing everything in front of you enables you to decide on an action plan.
Use online game platforms that you can play in a group. There are many websites that mimic classic family games that are free to use. It's a fun, low-commitment way to connect a group of friends together regardless of distance, and it always ends in laughter.
Mickey Santana, New York (Class of 2020) (Hong Kong)
Create goals for each day or week. With so much time spent in the same places, it's easy to lose track of projects, deadlines and responsibilities. Having a checklist can be a satisfying way to visualize your progress while at home.
Customise your work environment to suit your own working styles. Do you need absolute focus to get things done? Then ensure you have a clean, clear desk. Or do you like to let your ideas run wild and free? Have lots of sketchbooks, sticky notes and boards to capture your creativity!
Be proactive and reach out! Just because in-person interactions are limited doesn't mean that it should be harder to stay in touch. Try out new virtual experiences, like watching a movie together or attending a virtual painting class.
Clara Tang, UBC, Canada (Class of 2021) (mainland China)
I believe self-discipline is important to facilitate online learning and working. With relatively flexible working time at home, we should make our own detailed planning to be in control of every task.
Also, when facing problems, don't be shy to actively communicate with others, like your classmates or with your school. Use email or other social media platforms as if you're in the classroom or office face-to-face with them.
Sunny Roshan Ramamurthy, Oxford University, UK (India)
To make the most of online learning, you need motivation and concentration. This isn't easy when your schedule is more flexible, distractions are everywhere, and the hustle and bustle of university life is missing. There's no magic formula for staying focused, but it helps to create a distraction-free study space - and to enjoy your work!
There are lots of small, unexpected costs involved with studying and living abroad. It can be helpful to track your expenditure for the first month or two to get a clearer idea of what your living costs look like, and then use this to budget for future months or semesters.
Yufei Wu, UBC, Canada (Class of 2021) (mainland China)
With online learning, I struggle with time management. However, I have the flexibility to attend the live version of my course, or to watch the recorded version, so I've organised my study plan to make more efficient use of my time. Meanwhile, I regularly check my emails to follow up on monthly activities provided by my professors.
Marisa Yow, UNSW, Sydney, Australia (Class of 2022) (Malaysia)
I'm sure for many of us, staying at home hasn't been the most ideal experience - not being able to meet up with friends and family. However, I think this period has made me realise how lucky I am to be able to spend this time reconnecting with friends and family online, despite not being able to see them face to face. It's not something that I would usually make time for.
So, I hope that, despite these unexpected times, you're able to find something that you can be grateful for too.
Hear advice from some of our global education partners on how you can make this your #YearofOpportunity
Financial advice for students
Remember that the cost of studying abroad is more than just tuition. Plan for your total costs by also considering accommodation, books, travel and other fees. There might also be opportunities to offset your costs by working while you study. - Jamie Ramacciotti, Times Higher Education
Our financial situation can sometimes feel overwhelming and out of our control. But it's important to remember that there are a lot of things that we can do to not only reduce stress around our financial situation but also improve it. Planning and preparation is essential. Each month make a spending plan and stick to it. Finally, if you're struggling, don't be afraid to seek advice from different people. They'll know things you don't and help you move forwards. - Dr Zoe Dimov, Fika
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