Studying at Queen’s in Semester Two and COVID-19: A student’s guide
Being a university student often means that we are away from home, and for international students like myself, you could feel like you need to face the pandemic/public health crisis all by yourself.
I can relate with the helpless feelings some students may feel, but in this blog, I would like to share what we can really do if we are tested positive for COVID-19 and reassure you that the University is there to support you throughout the process.
Even though I am quite lucky to have not experienced COVID-19 myself, being the president of the Malaysian Students’ Society of Northern Ireland (MSSNI), here is some of my advice on what students should do at the moment.
- First, do not panic. I know this is usually easier said than done, especially when you may be worried about your personal health, and the wellbeing of your loved ones. However, staying calm and following the relevant governmental guidelines is the best thing to do.
- Second, if you develop COVID-related symptoms, make sure you isolate yourself, and book a free test online here.
You should get tested in the first three days of coronavirus symptoms appearing. If you have no access to transport to access a drive-through test, the University can help you arrange a special COVID-secure taxi, please call 028 9097 3550 for further assistance.
3. Third, inform the University via the COVID update page or you can call the COVID Response Team on 028 9097 3550.
What happens if I test positive?
If you are tested positive for COVID, do remember to update your status in the STOPCOVID NI App and inform anyone whom you have recently interacted physically with. The government/university will have a comprehensive track and trace system in place, but I think this is also useful, especially if you are aware who are they (most probably your friends in the University).
I personally know many friends who have recovered from COVID – so do not worry, fingers-crossed you will get better soon after two weeks. Do closely monitor your health condition and keep in touch with your GP (virtually) if you require any formal consultations.
Students helping those who are isolating
I am also super proud of the community here in Queen’s where I know students who have been buying groceries for our peers who are self-isolating voluntarily, and the Queen’s Accommodation team has also been closely supporting their student residents to get through the isolation period.
Please do not be afraid to reach out (safely) for help. You can either contact your GP, the University, the International Student Support team, your student societies, the Student Union, QUB Wellbeing Services and maybe just video call your family and friends if you are ever feeling a bit down.
Lastly, here are some useful links that I personally find really useful – which provides a clear breakdown of what we should do if we really developed COVID-related symptoms/tested positive one day.
What if I don’t have any symptoms of COVID?
Even though you do not have any symptoms, you can (and I really encourage you to do so) book a free and easy asymptomatic test on campus. It literally took me 10 minutes to complete the swab test, and I got my results within an hour.
So to keep yourself safe and your friends safe too – let’s play our part to make our campus safer and stop the spread of COVID-19!
Information for Malaysian students
Since I am a Malaysian, so I really would like to take this opportunity to remind any Malaysian students who are tested Positive to also email the Malaysian Embassy in Belfast – the Malaysian Student Centre via email@example.com with the details below:
1. Full Name
2. Course of Studies
3. Student's and Parents' Phone Number
4. Address in Belfast
5. The Date of your COVID Test
6. Current Status (self-isolating/hospitalised)
This is just to allow the Malaysian government to better support you if you ever need any help in the future. You can also contact MSSNI via firstname.lastname@example.org too if you require any support.
Everyone is here to support you
Once again, I would like to genuinely reassure everyone that you are never ever left to deal with COVID-19 alone here as a student in QUB. Have faith in yourself and the University, and I sincerely wish and believe that everything will get better by the end of this new year! Take care everyone!