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Asirah: Finally getting out and about in Adelaide

As the COVID-19 restrictions lift, Asirah says she’s happy to see a new side of life in Adelaide as she gets out to explore the city and its attractions with friends. We spoke to Asirah to find out how she coped during the pandemic lockdown and why she’s excited to get back on campus in the second half of 2020.

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Where were you when the COVID-19 crisis began?

I arrived in Adelaide in mid-February to start my Bachelor of Laws at the University of Adelaide. I didn’t worry when I got here because it wasn’t hitting Adelaide specifically at that stage. Things were pretty normal, and I was still going out on the weekends. I went to the Fringe Festival and explored the city. But then things changed.

How do you feel about being in Adelaide during the pandemic?

It’s my first time away from my family, so I felt a little homesick. But I’m glad the people of Adelaide have been good at complying with social distancing. You can see that people are taking it seriously.

Tell us how you’ve found the change to online study.

Obviously, it’s quite different from face-to-face study, but my professors and tutors have been amazing. They’re very accessible and reply quickly to emails.

You’re new to Adelaide. How did the pandemic impact your ability to meet new people?

I already knew some people here. I’ve got my sister’s friend who picked me up at the airport, plus a few people I know from my college (high school) back in Kuala Lumpur. It was nice to make a few new friends when we had two weeks of on-campus classes, but it wasn’t enough time to really get to know people.

Since going online, it’s been harder to develop friendships with my classmates. People don’t really turn their cameras on which is a bit unfortunate. It’s been a pretty lonely semester.

How did you look after your physical and mental health during the lockdown?

I took a lot of walks because we could still go to the parks. There’s a park nearby that I would go to after my online classes. I’ve never really been into lots of activity because it’s so hot in Malaysia, but it’s been nice here.

I’ve also been doing a lot of journaling. Because it’s been harder to talk to people, it’s a good way to ‘talk’ it out.  Netflix has helped, and I’ve been trying to read more as well.

Now that restrictions have started to lift, has your social situation improved?

Yeah, we’ve been going out for brunches now. One of my college friends moved in next door in my student accommodation, so we’ve been to the museum and art gallery together. When I arrived, I was really looking forward to going on picnics with friends, but we couldn’t go out much. We were just using FaceTime. But now we’ve finally had our picnic. I’m happy to be seeing another side of life in Adelaide.

Tell us about next semester.

Our lectures will still be online, but I think we’ll have the choice for smaller tutorials and workshops to either attend online or go to campus for face-to-face classes. I’m excited and looking forward to meeting more people with some time on campus next semester.

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