University can be challenging socially, especially during a pandemic. This blog from Student Ambassador Afroja Ahmed shows us that there are plenty of ways to stay well and keep connected with the community!
We are currently living in uncertain times with the outbreak of COVID-19. During times like this, our faith can be challenged, and it can be hard to see the light of hope with this new normal. I have pulled together some of my strategies and reflections to provide hope to you for staying well amid the pandemic.
Volunteering was one of the best resolutions for me to cope with the loneliness due to travel restriction. I came to Ireland with a strong desire to explore and make connections with diverse people. I didn’t know anyone except my module leaders and few classmates. I involved myself in volunteering with registered volunteering opportunity as well as some other volunteering openings. These volunteering opportunities gave me a chance to grow my network. I got to meet people from all other postgraduate and undergraduate courses from the University of Limerick (UL).
Other non-registered volunteering opportunities gave me the opportunities to work for which I am passionate such as combatting stigma to mental health and Covid related psychological research. I ended up doing teamwork with all psychology students from Ireland through the “Mind the Mind Ireland” campaign and “Crisis Text Ireland 50808”. I would highly recommend students to get involved with volunteering opportunities as this is a great way to increase network and skills in a new country.
University of Limerick (UL) and all personnel related to the President Volunteer Award (PVA) are so helpful. They are open to including the hour from other volunteering organizations that are not registered with PVA. So, why not volunteer for a cause you are passionate about.
Image of UL Volunteer News
Virtual Socialization Platform
I believe I am a social and friendly person. So, staying all day with a laptop and not being able to hang out on campus with friends was so disheartening for me. I wanted to make friends not only with international students but also with native students. So, I started to search for virtual platforms to meet people from diverse background.
I found several platforms that are exactly something that I was looking for. I have attended the story exchange platform of Narrative 4 which is a global organization led by students. It’s an amazing platform to develop empath by sharing stories. Similarly, I got to involve with Global Village and Stories & Language Exchange Projects of “Sanctuary with Psychology”. Both projects are great resources to enhance networks in Ireland. For the first time, I celebrated the Spring festival with people all around the world living in Ireland. Through the Story Exchange project, I found few true friends and a reliable as well as a valuable community. These virtual platforms provided me with a sense of belongingness to a diverse group.
Travelling and Exploring the Neighbourhood
I am not a sporty person at all, but I feel jealous to see people hiking and climbing mountains or doing all other strenuous physical training. I spent some time weekly exploring the neighbourhood and found interesting places like this one in the picture.
Besides that, I would recommend students to prepare a list to travel to other counties of Ireland whenever travel restriction eased by the government. All the counties of Ireland are beautiful and so serene.
Besides that, there are loads of campaigns by UL such as COVID Dojo of Healthy UL. You can either donate or raise a fund or can earn a free food voucher for participating. Who does not love a free pizza!
So, explore UL for increasing and enhancing your network and skills. Take very good care of yourself during this pandemic and Stay Well With UL.