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21 October 2020

Student Adrian Morris tells us about his virtual global learning experience

This year I had planned to study abroad in South Korea and Austria; however, the programs were cancelled due to COVID-19. Below, I share how my study abroad experience was replaced with a virtual global learning program and what I’ve loved about it so far.

Aalto University’s Mikkeli campus in Finland.

What is a virtual global learning experience?

Think study abroad but online! Due to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, my overseas study experience was completely transformed into an online experience.

As Finland was on my list of countries in Europe to visit during my travels, being able to take part in Aalto University’s virtual exchange was a great way for me to see the world and gain international experience while in lockdown in Melbourne. It was uplifting to spend time with people across the globe and I felt connected, which has been really important this year.

The strangest part of my virtual experience

The virtual exchange included a lecturer from Georgia, USA; students from Perth and Melbourne in Australia; and Mikkeli and Helinski in Finland. All of us were in lockdown due to the pandemic and studying from home which created an interesting but intriguing dynamic, with us all connecting with individuals from around the globe. 

The benefits of studying abroad virtually

Luckily, unlike a normal exchange, the transition to studying at Aalto was relatively smooth. The Aalto staff understood our individual circumstances and were patient with us, ensuring that we were supported to engage in the program and not presented with any barriers or issues. 

The course was well-delivered and engaging. Taking part in collaborative activities to learn the content and applying it to real-world issues helped me to stay motivated and made online study enjoyable. When you’re learning with people from the other side of the globe, you might struggle to feel like it’s studying at all because it’s such a new and exciting experience. 

What I’m missing most this year

I miss being in class with people. I would have loved to have gained that experience with others from around the world in person. Naturally, we get caught up with what’s happening in Melbourne and forget what’s happening around the world, the importance of keeping in touch with others and working and learning internationally.

My advice to anyone considering Deakin Abroad’s virtual global learning experience

Being able to engage in international opportunities while in lockdown provided me with amazing insight into different countries and culture, as well as a different way to learn.

With travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, take the chance to spend time with others around the world and build a network from different pockets of the globe. The benefit is that you can do this from the comfort of your own home – an opportunity that may not come around again. A virtual global learning experience will only grow your appreciation for travel more and help you build your wish list of where to go first once borders are open again. It can help you consider whether working internationally in the future is right for you. 

Does this sound like an opportunity you don’t want to miss? Virtual global learning programs offer exciting opportunities to gain meaningful intercultural experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more about the universities and programs you can experience online.

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