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BWW Blog: Online Back to School from Abroad

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I’m a remote international student for this semester, hoping to return in person in the spring.

This is definitely the most unusual back to school ever for everyone. But I can say that taking remote classes from another country is even more strange. You're in a whole different mindset, being at home, in a different time-zone, etc.

I came back home to Brazil for my spring break and never went back to Baldwin Wallace University. Because of the pandemic, there is a travel ban imposed by the US to Brazilians, preventing me from returning to campus this fall. I could have gone to another country, quarantine there for 14 days, and then fly to the US and stay in my dorm room for another 14 days. But my family and I thought that it was too dangerous, considering that our campus could shut down any day and I would be stuck there. So, I'm a remote international student for this semester, hoping to return in person in the spring. While my friends are living their (masked) college life: eating at the Union, sleeping in a residence hall, and going to classes, I'm home. Which, don't get me wrong, is great! I get to spend time with my family, live a much more comfortable life than the one I lived on campus, and I can even take classes that I used to take before studying abroad, like violin, dance, and French classes. But this got me used to my "Brazilian" routine again, and now that school is back in session, I need a change of mindset. So here's how my first week of remote classes from another country went. You can also watch it on my Back to School vlog!

BWW Blog: Online Back to School from AbroadMONDAY

As I was preparing myself for my first class of the day (biology for the citizen), BlackBoard, our online schooling platform, was down. It came back in time for my voice class. Every student is taking this course virtually because of the risk of contamination by aerosol droplets. So everyone is on the same boat. School-wise, I was done for the day. I went for a walk and still had French classes later at night.


My business communication class is split into two groups. One group attends the class in person on Tuesday, for example, and catches up with the subject individually on Thursday. If I were on campus, I would be in the Thursday group, meaning that I didn't have this class this morning, only a couple of readings to do. The main event of the day was a meeting for music theatre production. This semester Baldwin Wallace is virtually producing Spring Awakening. As always, a group of Arts Management students, including yours truly, is responsible for the marketing and educational approach for the season's musical. This will probably be my passion project for the semester as we face the challenging task of producing and marketing a musical virtually. You can expect a more detailed post about this experience later in the semester. At night, I had a zoom class from my dance studio here in Brazil.


If I were on campus today, I would have gone to my biology class in person. But since I'm not, I took the time to catch up on the pre-recorded lessons my professor has made available on BlackBoard. I never thought I would study Biology ever again since high school! I guess this is what it means to be a student in a Liberal Arts university. And it's funny to learn everything again, but this time in English. After that, I had my voice class, in which we've "learned" (most of the students already knew) how to read a music sheet, and we did some vocalizing exercises. Later on, I did a home workout, had my French class, and saw two of my best friends graduate university from home on a YouTube live event (life has gotten very weird).


I did a little bit of reading for my business communication class. Early in the afternoon, I connected to Zoom for my financial management of the arts class. My professor put me inside the classroom so I could have the same class that my classmates are having. This way, I'm not missing out that much on the experience and can still participate in class discussions. It was quite funny, but it worked really well! Later I did some homework and did some exercise outside with my parents.


We made it to the last day of the first week! Usually, I would only have one class on Fridays. Still, because of this whole situation, my Biology professor canceled our Friday sessions so that we can catch up on the recordings and eventually set up a meeting with him to clear some doubts. I worked on a social media post for the Dance Team, for which I'm the vice-captain this year and the one responsible for our digital presence. I'm also using Friday as my official day to work on my event planning course. This is an entirely online class, meaning we don't have any meetings, and the work is 100% on BlackBoard. We have to read articles and chapters from the textbook, write discussion boards, and take online quizzes. I'm not gonna lie: this class is going to be a huge challenge, since there is no scheduled time, like the other ones. I have to self-manage and do all the work on my own and meet the due dates. Later we had a board meeting for the Arts Management Association, for which I'm the co-director of marketing. We talked about how our plans will change this year since we usually do a lot of in-person events, like luncheons with guest speakers, an auction, and many networking opportunities for our members.

I'm still adapting to this new format of learning, but I have a whole semester to figure it out. Good luck to everyone going through these challenging times! We're in this together!

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