By Giorgia Rifaldi
Although the move from in-person to online learning was a stark transition for some, for some international students who must attend class in various time zones, it has been a world of difference.
Because virtual Zoom classes are required to be held at the same time they would normally be held at Long Beach State, international students have to attend classes at inconvenient hours.
“I feel like the whole community is doing their best in order to help students finish this unprecedented semester as smoothly as possible,” said Chiara Grandin, an English literature major from Venice, Italy. “The real problem international students are facing revolves around time zones and the fact that we are forced to stay up all night in order to follow Zoom meetings.”
Following the spread of COVID-19, many international students have decided to return to their home countries. Students mostly take classes during the day, but with a nine-hour time difference, like the one between California and Italy, that changes completely.
“Even though most of my teachers were very flexible in terms of deadlines, the American university system expects students to participate during class discussions,” Grandin said. “Personally, all my CSULB classes were in the afternoon and, as a consequence, every Tuesday I have to stay up from 2:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. in order not to miss class discussions and therefore jeopardize my final grades and exams.”
In many classes, grades can be defined by in-class discussion and participation. This means that one of the main problems that some international students are dealing with is that they must attend their classes at the scheduled time rather than follow along with a recorded lecture in order to maintain their grade.
As a result, some students say attending classes at unusual hours results in a significantly inadequate sleeping schedule.
Some professors have found solutions in recording their meetings so that their international students can follow them if they do not manage to go to class. Others are lenient when it comes to deadlines, and some make Zoom meetings not mandatory.
Jade Murphy, a fashion design major from Scotland, goes to class with a time difference of eight hours.
She said that while studying at CSULB all of her classes were in the morning, but scheduled Zoom meetings are considered to be in conflict with her current schedule.
Murphy said she feels that she does not have as much time to get assignments done because of how late her classes are.
“Because of the time zones, in Scotland, it is normally around dinner time when my classes are,” Murphy said. “So if we have to do anything I feel like I don’t have as much time.”