Studying Abroad from Home

Vaishnavi Sood and Ishveen Kour

“Please start the lessons in offline mode,” urged the 25-year old postgraduate student from Afghanistan.

Lida Halim is currently enrolled in the 2-year Master’s course in journalism and mass communication at Panjab University. She hails from Takhar province in Afghanistan and presently lives in the capital city of Kabul.

Lida Halim

Talking about her experience with PU; Lida says “I was unlucky that I could not meet my friends, classmates, professors, and the city beautiful Chandigarh.”

Virtual classrooms have left one with diminished learning returns and even less memories of much awaited academic years. The lethal second wave and extended online sessions have been of little respite. It has also raised agonising concerns among students about their future. Studying abroad is a dream come true for many. But, the current arrangements can be even more challenging for foreign students.

Lida said, “I knew that the journey would start online but I had hoped to be in Chandigarh by the end of first semester. The entire first year is about to finish but I am still in Afghanistan.”

Echoing the emotions of her many colleagues and contemporaies, Lida noted that the present arrangement is not as useful for the students especially for international students like herself. She said that internet and electricity issues make it difficult for her to attend online classes regularly.

On being asked what inspired her to join the journalism course; she credits her graduation days. Lida completed her graduation in journalism and mass communication in Persian language from Balkh University in Mazar-i-Sharif.

She recalled, “Journalism not was my favourite field at the time but after joining the university, I got interested in pursuing this profession and now I love it. I know it is difficult to be a journalist in Afghanistan, but, you must accept all risks.”

She further cited positive feedback from various Afghan students about India and the varsity which prompted her to apply for the MJMC course in School of Communication Studies at Panjab University. She also thanked her professors and classmates for all the help and support.

However, she also expressed her dejection over losing out on a year of learning and memories owing to online education in the pandemic. She expressed hope that the upcoming final year begins offline and she can compensate for the things lost in the first year.

The story was originally covered for the Student Reporter of Panjab University. 

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