International students on their challenges...


THE Covid-19 pandemic is tough on everyone.

But for international students and academic staff in Malaysia’s local and private universities, being far away from their loved ones and having to cope with the unexpected financial implications, the mental and emotional stress has made it even more challenging. Here’s what they have to say:

I’ve started to look for a job so (that) I can help my parents with my tuition fees. (But) it is extremely hard for an international student to get a job in (this) country (where) I’m not a permanent resident... and I can speak (Bahasa Malaysia). I looked everywhere.. I don’t know why we are not (allowed to) because we’re studying here and we have a student visa.

I have an eating disorder with mild hyper gymnasia (where there is) a desire to

over exercise constantly.

(But) the gyms were closed, so, this sent me into a spiral. I had to find a different form of exercise, but I couldn’t walk and run outside because (everything was) shut down.

So, I started doing indoor exercises (by) utilising the Internet.

The thing with that was, it ended up getting so bad, that I started causing physical injuries (to myself) while doing workouts.

During that time, the only person I had any social contact with was this one other person who lives in my building... I had to recover from my anorexia... I had to go through anorexia recovery, which put me at risk of (the) refeeding syndrome, which is this horrifying process where you end up taking in more minerals... (and then in) the middle of one of my exams, I stopped being able to breathe properly.

The doctors found nothing wrong with me and told me that it was a problem called compulsive sighing disorder...

I havent been able to breathe properly for months... My grandmother died, too. I haven’t seen her for a year and I’ll never see her again. I haven’t seen my family for a year...

.. The language barrier that we face, especially in times of Covid-19 (made it more difficult)... Our exam timetable is in Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and it’s sent in the official Mechanical Engineering group.

I have to use Google translate ... I (went) to the engineering office and they said, “Oh, we’re closed for 10 days.

Didn’t you get the notification in the email?” I checked my email and it was only in one language with no English translation.

These are important emails... it’s fine to send it in BM.

But when they say this programme is conducted in English, it’s their responsibility to send the email with an English translation.

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