Rakha Zabin, PhD student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Brock University, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about how international students could benefit from considering aspects of emotional intelligence during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“COVID-19 has drastically changed education for millions of university students around the world. International students are a vulnerable population group with unique challenges. Away from their home countries or at a distance from their universities, they have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond concerns about themselves and loved ones due to the virus, international students have worried about things like visa and graduation status, optional practical training opportunities being harder to obtain or cancelled or whether to go home (if that is even an option due to border closures). Some have worried about living far from loved ones, having to find a place to live if dormitories close, self-isolating from roommates if necessary and finances.
My preliminary research has examined the lived experiences of international graduate students in Ontario, and government and university policies pertaining to international students. My findings to date suggest that international students can be better supported by their institutions to cope with their personal and emotional challenges that may become compounded during public crises.
I have also explored models that institutions could rely on to support students’ emotional well-being. This has led me to consider how international students might turn to the toolkit of emotional intelligence.”
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