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International students affected by COVID-19 restrictions return

Tuesday 10 August 2021 11:48am

International students image
Tina Li and Chauncey Leu have recently returned to Otago from China to complete their studies.

As the country went into nationwide lockdown last year many study plans were interrupted for Otago students locally and internationally.

While New Zealand’s borders are still closed the government has accepted the return of a few current international students whose studies have been affected by border restrictions. This has allowed for a few Otago students from China to return to their studies in-person after completing 14 days in MIQ.

Earlier this month Otago University Chinese Students Association (OUCSA) celebrated the return of those students to the Dunedin campus.

Among those was Bachelor of Commerce (Tourism) student Tina Li who is thrilled to be back in the country.

“I was back home in Heilongjiang Province when New Zealand’s borders closed and was studying online until I returned to Otago in June this year. It’s great to be seeing my lecturers face to face.”

“Some of my papers require field trips and those are things I can’t do from China. To graduate, I need to be back here to complete those trips. It was hard at first to study online but I did as much as I could from China.”

Postgraduate student Chauncey Leu hadn’t yet started his journey at Otago when the borders closed.

“I was offered a place two years ago and my visa was approved last year - but it was during lockdown, so I started my studies remotely. It’s not easy studying long distance. It’s better to be on campus where I can talk to my professors in person.”

The PhD candidate, originally from Southern China, is looking forward to spending the next few years here completing his studies in Accounting and Finance.

“It was difficult getting into the country too. I had to navigate MIQ (Managed Isolation and Quarantine) and secure a spot.”

“It’s nice to not be stuck at home all day long. I was in the United Kingdom for my master’s and Dunedin reminds me of the UK. It’s nice to be in a smaller city though, it’s very friendly.”

Kōrero by Internal Communications Adviser, Chelsea McRae