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Dinura: On track for an MBA in Adelaide during coronavirus

When Dinura left Sri Lanka to study for an MBA in Adelaide, he was looking forward to living independently and taking care of himself. But as the COVID-19 pandemic grew, he says he feels happy to have had family friends to stay with while things were uncertain. We spoke to Dinura about how the pandemic affected his plans and why he says he feels being in Adelaide has helped him keep his studies on track.

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Where were you when the COVID-19 crisis began?

I arrived in Adelaide in the middle of February, ready to start my MBA at the University of South Australia. I wore a mask throughout the flight, but at that stage the coronavirus hadn’t affected Australia much. Even back in Sri Lanka, we’d only had one case. It didn’t really blow up until I was here.

How do you feel about being in Adelaide during COVID-19?

I’ve given a lot of thought to that. If I were home, I would be with my family through this, which would be nice. But in Adelaide, while the world has stopped, I’m still going ahead with my plans. I’m still doing my master’s and not wasting any time. If I were in Sri Lanka, I would have to postpone my studies. Compared to what other people have to go through in other places, it’s nice we can still go outside and do our shopping. I’m happy I chose Adelaide.

Did the pandemic change your living plans?

I made plans to stay with my dad’s friends for the first few weeks while I found accommodation. I ended up staying with them for almost three months. It was nice to be with them as the pandemic grew. They have a son my age, so we went on hikes. That was nice because Adelaide didn’t completely shut down. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to find a place to live because of the virus, but I just moved into my student accommodation at the beginning of May.

How has the pandemic impacted your studies?

I had about three weeks of face-to-face university before everything went online. That was helpful because I got to meet some people I can talk to and relate to about what’s going on, even if we haven’t been able to hang out. Since then, all my classes, exams and assignments have moved online. It can be hard, especially for group assignments when we can’t get together. It’s definitely different, but it’s manageable. I’m feeling confident with my learning. The online lectures have gone perfectly, and I don’t have any problems getting everything I need for my studies.

Have you developed any new hobbies on interests while things have been closed?

I’ve kept up with my usual hobbies of drawing and playing the guitar. I haven’t been able to go to the gym, but I’ve enjoyed getting my physical exercise outside going for walks and runs in all the grounds and parks around. I did help my family friends build a chicken coop, which was an interesting project. I got to work on new skills. I never thought I’d build a chicken coop.

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