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BYU-I’m 14 hours ahead

Across an ocean, international datelines, and several time zones, BYU-Idaho’s Spring 2020 semester looks the same in Taiwan as it does in Rexburg. At least for one student.

“Being at home, studying online is really hard because of the time differences,” said LiSin Chen, a sophomore studying nursing. “We have about 14 hours difference — 14 hours ahead. My daily schedule is going to bed at 7-8 p.m., and I wake up at 3:04 a.m. just for the classes.”

Like most of the world, Chen is at home. In addition to taking nine credits this semester, she also works a remote campus job in Student Support doing skills mentoring. Part of her job includes setting up online workshops for students during the pandemic.

“It’s nice that we can do everything online, but it’s so hard for me because of the time,” Chen said. “Our program does really well. We do a team meeting before we start our work hours every day. We also have a group chat on Google Hangouts. I miss them being around me, but this is the best way that we can work together, and it’s been really good. I’ve enjoyed it a lot.”

School, however, is another matter.

LiSin Chen studying at her home in Taiwan
LiSin Chen studying at her home in Taiwan Photo credit: LiSin Chen

Chen said online schooling for her is “definitely worse.” She misses the feeling of being in the classroom with her professors and classmates.

“There are a lot of on-campus resources that I can use for my classes,” Chen said. “We have drop-in labs, tutoring appointments and office hours on campus. If I was still on campus, it’d make it easier for me to just go to those places. It’s a lot harder to communicate with people in a Zoom meeting.”

Distractions at home are another contributor to the differences in remote learning. Chen admits she’s not the best when it comes to dealing with distractions, but she’s trying to make it work. She sets hour-by-hour schedules, separates leisure time from work and school, and has a clean, organized space to work and study.

Her advice for other international students studying online this semester?

“Keep your schedule as usual,” Chen said. “Keep your life normal and tell your family ‘This is the time I study, and this is the time I have classes,’ so the people around you won’t be a huge distraction for you.”

LiSin Chen studies in a Taiwan library during the coronavirus pandemic.
LiSin Chen studies in a Taiwan library during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo credit: LiSin Chen

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