#InThisTogether with William Ndut from Perth
Today, I'm going to share a little bit of my story - as an international student, as someone who works in Perth, and as someone who is experiencing this global phenomenon: COVID-19.
After being awarded the
LPDP Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education
scholarship, William Ndut moved from his home in Jakarta, Indonesia, to
Perth in 2018 to study at the University of Western Australia
Currently, I'm living in Perth with my little family," he says. "Since
August 2019, I have been working as an academic tutor at UWA's Business
School. Initially, this role required me to have face-to-face meetings with
my students once a week, but in response to this global phenomenon, the
mode of delivery of the tutorial session has been changed to online.
UWA and its staff were quick to adapt to the changes that COVID-19 brought,
but as a teacher, William still had concerns.
"At first, I was a little bit scared and worried about not being able to
catch the attention [of the students], or that they wouldn't be engaged
enough with this online mode of delivery," he says.
In addition, William felt for students working part-time who may have
recently been left without work, or international students facing the
travel ban and being told to return home. He feared that his students would
withdraw from their course.
But I was totally wrong. My students have demonstrated to me that the main
pillar, the main essence of education is beyond walls, it's beyond this
brick-and-mortar building. The true spirit of education relies on their
strong will, motivation and dedication to study and to grow together, even
in this difficult time.
To his class, William shares this message: "For my students… I want you to
know, I'm so proud of you."
Prior to the implementation of stricter isolation rules, UWA hosted a
workshop for tutors and lecturers on how to engage students in an online
learning environment. However, William felt that the success in online
learning was not something that could necessarily be taught. Instead, it
comes down to the mutual dedication of staff and students to make the
situation work for them.
"In this situation, to be honest, I think that people are the key," he
Working from home has also had some unexpected benefits for William,
including being with his wife and nine-month-old son.
I have more time with my family, to set my life priorities, especially on
things that I'm going to do after this global pandemic ends," he says. "I
have more time to get ideas for my next book and to enjoy the sunlight and
the fresh air."/p>
William encourages fellow international students to stay resilient
throughout the physical separation period, by offering mental support and
"For my fellow international students in Perth, in coping with this
difficult time, there are two things that we can do. First of all:
physically. Please be mindful of yourself and others. Please keep
practising social distancing, whenever and wherever you are. Second of all:
mentally. I have to keep saying this over and over again, so that all of us
realise and understand that we are all in this together… If we could keep
being kind, mindful and respectful to each other during this difficult
time, once this global pandemic ends, we are going to bounce back and come
Tough times never last, but tough people do.