Remote Teaching from the Perspective of an International Student

This is me enjoying the sun on my balcony during quarantine time in the spring!

How does remote teaching at Tampere University look like from the perspective of an international student?

My name is Raysa França, and I am an international student from Brazil studying in the Leadership for Change master’s degree programme. Some of my student ambassador colleagues have already talked about how the “normal” way of teaching looked like in the good old days (before COVID-19 happened). Here you can check some tips for studying Finnish, for example. Today I am going through a different road, and I am going to share about how remote teaching in Tampere University looks like from the perspective of an international student.

A day in remote teaching

Normally, I wake up around 7:30 or 8 am. My day usually starts with some remote meetings. I normally meet people to do advocacy for internationals at the university, or to discuss projects I am currently involved with in student associations. This is something I highly encourage new international students to give a try.

I balance the meetings with studying and writing tasks for the courses, like essays or learning diaries. In the afternoon, I have classes via Zoom. The way the classes are conducted varies a lot. Sometimes, it looks more like watching a video, but depending on the teacher it can be very interactive.

The way the classes are conducted varies a lot.

The timetable of the courses vary a lot along the semester, sometimes I have classes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon. In the spring semester as well as now in the autumn, I have lectures mainly in the afternoon, so it is easy to adjust my remote studying schedule. After attending classes online, I watch an episode or two of a nice TV show on Netflix or HBO.

I also like writing a diary about my day to process my feelings and the anxiety that may appear because of studies. Basically, with remote teaching, my day is not that different from what it would be during “normal” times.

What is difficult for me in remote teaching

As I am a highly sociable person who actually enjoys going to face-to-face classes and meetings to meet people and discuss, the online lectures were quite frustrating at first as the level of interaction is usually not the same.

Furthermore, especially during spring, transition to remote teaching was very abrupt, so teachers had to adapt the previous planned content to the new format in a very tight schedule. Because of that, sometimes the lectures had the same duration and content as they would have face-to-face without many breaks, which can be tiring.

Communication via email or video conference is not as effective as it would be face-to-face, so it requires extra effort.

Finally, communication via email or video conference is not as effective as it would be face-to-face, so it requires extra effort from all the involved parties.

Headphones and a laptop.
This is what my friends would call a “customer service set” 😂😁

What is good in remote teaching

Remote teaching is easier to fit in a busy schedule like mine, and much more convenient. It leads to less commuting to the university and more time for you to be involved in your own projects.

Furthermore, Finland is a country with many green areas and parks close to residential areas, so it is very easy to be out and reduce the stress from a remote teaching day. Remote teaching also leads to some funny situations, like my headphone set which looks quite funny, or speaking during a meeting with the microphone being muted without noticing.

Tips to handle remote teaching

  1. From time to time, take breaks to rest your eyes. It can be very tiresome to stare at screens all the time, so try to take a 5 minute break with your eyes closed, or looking out from the window.
  2. Stretching is also very important! Take some time to stretch.
  3. Share your feelings with your peers and teachers if the remote teaching is making you feel anxious. Also look for professional help if needed! These are strange times and you don’t have to handle it alone.
  4. Don’t forget to interact with friends, peers and family even during remote teaching. It is always a good idea to keep the interaction alive through Zoom calls, for example.

I hope this blog post helped you understand the perceptions of an international student. If you have any questions, you can be in touch with me, or with other students at the Unibuddy platform.

– Raysa

Interested in studying at Tampere University? Have a look at our international degree programmes!

About the writer: Hello there! My name is Raysa França and the most important piece of information you should know about me is that I am a friendly and easy-going person, so don’t be shy to be in touch with me to ask any questions you might have. I’m from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and I have been living in Finland for a year now. Before that, I was an exchange student at the University of Jyväskylä. I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). I participate in many projects focused on feminism, social impact, student advocacy, and sustainability. In Brazil, I have worked in a museum, at the university, in a business school, and in a startup, always performing tasks related to sustainability. In my free time in Tampere, I like to explore vegan cuisine and I like to hang out with friends over beer and board games.

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