Want to know what it’s like studying abroad during a pandemic? Chinese Student Ambassador LuRen shares a little insight into life in Ireland.

In September of last year, I took the leap to study abroad in Ireland. After more than ten hours of flying, I landed in Ireland for the first time. Although the number of coronavirus cases in Ireland was increasing every day, I did not feel any fear when I made the move.

Everyday life
Most of the schools here have switched to an online teaching model. Although it is not possible to communicate with classmates and professors face-to-face, I find it more convenient to learn via video. When not attending online classes, I am busy following guidelines to prevent the virus; wear a mask every time you go out, disinfect and wash your hands as soon as you return etc. China even sent us protective materials, masks and other PPE to prevent the spread of Covid-19, I found this gesture from home very heartwarming.

When I first came to Ireland there weren’t many places open to keep me entertained, bars and parties were not allowed, so the supermarket became the best place for students to go. The livestock industry in Ireland is well developed, and the price of beef and milk is really affordable. When I lived with my parents I never went into the kitchen however, now I cook for myself almost every day and I have slowly become somewhat of a chef! Occasionally, when schoolwork is busy, I will order takeaway or just throw a big pizza into the oven.

Keeping ood health is extremely important for everyone. Consistent exercise during lockdown can also boost your immunity and mood. I go jogging by the nearby river in the early morning or put a yoga mat in the dorm to exercise. The school provides a free gym so I sometimes go swimming. There is also a health clinic on campus with lovely staff, they even gave me notes in both Chinese and English when I visited!

Making friends
I chose to share an apartment with two other girls from different countries. Not only is my English improving during conversation, but also through getting to know their culture and food. The whole point of leaving home to study abroad is to experience a different world, isn’t it?

My one-year Masters degree is busy and fulfilling. I am very fortunate that I have not had a gap for a year. Although most of my classmates and teachers are netizens this year, I have met a lot of really enthusiastic people, and they gave me a lot of help -for this, I am very thankful.

LuRen, is currently studying for a MA in Information System for Business Performance at University College Cork.