Do you think you’re making the most of learning online? Well, Malaysian Student Ambassador Jun Jie Khong certainly does. In his recent blog post, he explains how he has used his extra free time to better his computer skills. As well as improving his virtual presence, Jun Jie has upped his game in the real world by landing himself a part-time job!

It’s been six months since I came to Ireland to study. Unfortunately, the threat of Covid-19 still exists and all my classes are still conducted online. I would like to share my experience of online studying here in Ireland and how I have made use of online learning efficiently.

In Athlone Institute of Technology, where I am studying, the student union has been active despite the restrictions that have caused many activities to be cancelled. These activities include St. Patrick’s Day (Ireland’s national holiday – they call it Paddy’s Day) and a Brazilian carnival that incorporates the Brazilian Samba-style dance. I will usually find time to participate in these activities as it encourages me to meet new people, learn about their culture and gain new knowledge. For instance, Paddy’s Day allowed me to understand the history of Ireland as well as the Irish culture. I came to understand the significance of the three leaves on the Shamrock, Ireland’s national symbol; the leaves represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I was always curious about this, and now I know!

AITSU I Housing and Digs

The next thing I did was take on part-time work. Since classes are all conducted online now, my time became more flexible. It was also the first year of my degree and my class schedule was less packed. I took this opportunity to find a part-time job and fill some of the free time that I had. I was very fortunate to find a job as a waiter in a restaurant. It was a good experience as I got to practise my English and speak with the locals. I could also earn some income to pay for my daily expenses. It was definitely worth it to spend some of my free time working.

The next thing I did was learn how to use the Microsoft apps such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint. As classes are now conducted online, my homework and assignments are now online too. I use these apps to do my work and submit them to my lecturers. I became more skilled after several attempts. It will definitely benefit me in my career because I will need these skills when I’m working as an accountant in future. My college also did a good job educating us in this area, we have IT classes twice a week to teach us these ‘soft skills’. My lecturer was very dedicated and did a good job. Thanks to online learning, I can now safely say that I am an expert in using these Microsoft products and it will really stand out on my CV when I’m looking for a job!

Jun Jie is doing a Bachelor of Accounting (Hons) at Athlone Institute of Technology.