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Amid Global Lockdown, International Student's Reflections on Study and Unusual Life

First year master's student Parisa Esmaeilkhani flew back home  before the borders were closed for travel from Russia to find herself engaged in graduate classes via distance learning in a rather unusual setting

With the lockdown in Moscow being extended, I decided to seize the opportunity and spend time with my family in Tehran.

Undoubtedly, one of the main reasons for such a decision was my low cooking skills! Once home I tried to do some sort of cooking mixed with creativity which I am sure will come in handy upon my return to Moscow. Unbelievably, I tried Blini which turn out very good and delicious, nevertheless, первый блин комом?!  

Our online classes, seminars, deadlines, and assignments keep me engaged & busy alongside cooking. After initial hiccups with online classes, now I feel much more comfortable than what it was in the initial week. In fact, the first weeks were not so satisfying but now both, we students and teachers, have got used to this new way of teaching and find it much easier to approach, at times we don’t feel that much difference between online and offline contact classes. 

I experience almost the same team work and spirit via Zoom rooms and activities which we used to have during person contact classes. My fear initially was the Econometrics seminar, which our Seminarist smartly used her small whiteboard to transfer needed knowledge.

Moreover, with the opportunity of passing two free online courses on Coursera, I successfully received the certificate of “Advanced Financial Reporting: Consolidated Financial Statements” offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, during  my first two weeks and now I am pursuing the next one. 

The time difference between Tehran and Moscow, gives me some extra hours of sleep and a chance to spend time watching the hectic Tehran Stock Market which these days is undergoing rapid transformation. I use my class knowledge to understand practically by looking at company financials and also apply a few related info that I have learned. At times, my last class finishes at 10:30 PM which keeps me busy the whole day, worse are Fridays when I finish late and the weekend of Tehran is about to end ... with restrictions easing, I need to look for options to balance weekend of Tehran and study day of Moscow. Like many others, I used lockdown as an opportunity to introduce new routine in my schedule with Yoga and indoor cycling, though they definitely can’t compensate with my daily average 6 KMs walk of Moscow which I miss the most. 

In order not to lose touch with my Russian knowledge, I still join my Russian classes although they usually overlap with my main classes. On top of that, we are continuing our “Разговорный Клуб” under the new platform to be close to Russian despite being far from the environment. 

All in all, that was my brief during lockdown which has taken a 360-degree change compared to how it was couple of weeks ago when I was in Moscow, I truly hope we all stay safe and healthy while keeping up our spirit to come back to normalcy soon! 

See you all!