How to Make Offshore Students Onshore?

Studying during Covid-19 has proven to be very difficult for staff and students at the University of Sydney Business School. The lock down of the university and the sudden change to online learning mode created lots of stress. In particular, offshore students who are commencing international students and who are not able to come to Sydney to start their learning felt lonely and helpless. To cope with such difficult times, QBUS5002 unit coordinate Dr Boris Choy initiated a satellite study project in China aimed at supporting and connecting our new international students. With the help of previous students from this unit, like me, we delivered a range of activities to help them connect. These received positive feedback from our participants.  

I am an exchange student from Italy. I have learned a lot from your unit of study and it really impressed me how much you have been available and helpful to all your students. I am happy to say I will bring back to Italy a lot, thanks to you.

Student Celeste Borsello
PLG group in Sydney

Peer Learning Group

In QBUS5002, the Peer Learning Group (PLG) team not only helps to support students improve their academic skills, they also play a very important role in providing mental health support to students, which has been so especially important during the pandemic. Based on our successful PLG experience here in Sydney, we built satellite study groups in China to support our off-shore students and enhance their learning experience. This project encouraged students in nearby cities to study and play together through social gatherings. We created Wechat Groups to connect over 800 students in this difficult time. Throughout the whole semester, students were supported from the teaching team, PLG team and peers. They made friends and enriched their life with virtual activities during the lock down. Former PLG facilitators volunteered to help students in China who were unable to travel to Australia. This gave commencing students a memorable experience while they spent their first semester studying offshore. 

I want to say thank you to your team. You have done all what you promised at the beginning of this semester. I think in this difficult time you and your team have done an excellent job. This is my first semester in the university of Sydney very difficult time at the beginning, but I really enjoyed it.

Student Jiahuan Tang

Places and spaces

In 2021 semester 2, we had 9 former leaders from QBUS5002 join the PLG team as facilitators. Facilitators are distributed in different cities/provinces in China including Beijing, Shanxi and Guangdong etc.

In addition to providing learning support to students through Zoom classes conducted by our former and current students, we tried hard to cover as many places as possible to organise face to face social activities to increase the sense of belonging of the offshore students in the QBUS5002 community. The success of this new satellite study project can be attributed to the enthusiasm of our Unit Coordinator Dr Choy and all of his students. We had this idea during the pandemic, and we acted on it immediately. It was not easy to implement, and we did face challenges.

For example finding leaders who had a statistics background to run the additional weekly zoom review sessions. In 2021 semester 2, we had only 6 volunteer leaders but there are lots of questions asked by students. To solve this challenge, we had asked former QBUS5002 student to become facilitator to help answer questions from student. It turns out many former students would love to help, like me. We believed that as long as we were doing good things for our students, they could see that we were trying hard to help them and eventually they became more involved. I hope that if, like us, you are thinking of doing something good for students, then do not wait for tomorrow – take action now. Students need you!

About the author

Hello my friend out there, my name is Shaun. It is nice to have you to read my blog. Here is a brief introduction about me. I hold a Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Sydney. I am currently a QBUS5002 Peer Learning Group (PLG) Facilitator located in China and I help promote the PLG project in China and assist PLG leaders to organise their activities offshore, in order to enrich their learning experience. I am passionate in volunteering activities and uses my positive attitude and unlimited energy to influence others.
Enjoy your reading. Cheers 🙂

Published by Shaun Luo

Hello my friend out there, my name is Shaun. It is nice to have you to read my blog. Here is a brief introduction about me. I hold a Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Sydney. I am currently a QBUS5002 Peer Learning Group (PLG) Facilitator located in China and I help promote the PLG project in China and assist PLG leaders to organise their activities offshore, in order to enrich their learning experience. I am passionate in volunteering activities and uses my positive attitude and unlimited energy to influence others. Enjoy your reading. Cheers :)

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