Clear skies shine in Albuquerque, New Mexico, senior Jenny Lee's hometown. Lee thinks that having less social distractions makes it easier to spend more time on academics. (Courtesy of Jenny Lee)

Lehigh worldwide: remote students take classes from around the globe

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The Lehigh community is spread out this semester as some students are studying remotely from their homes around the world. 

Jenny Lee, ‘21, chose to remain in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, rather than returning to Bethlehem for a variety of reasons. While Lee finds the time difference of two hours to be challenging, she said having fewer distractions at home has allowed her to dedicate more time to her school work. 

“I like that there aren’t that many distractions socially,” Lee said. “I can devote a lot of time to things that tend to be more tedious.”

Salvador Silva, ‘20, is spending the semester out of the country in Grenoble, France. He is completing his last semester at Lehigh remotely as well as interning as a marketing strategy associate at a tech startup called Thrive Technologies. 

Silva spends his mornings at work, and his classes begin in the evening after his work day concludes. He said he feels lucky to have the opportunity to continue working at Thrive where he began as an intern this summer. 

Silva grew up in Leiria, Portugal, and attended boarding school in Wales, so he is used to moving to new places. He is excited about the prospects of visiting campus at some point in the near future. 

“I miss being with my friends on campus and being in familiar places. It’s bittersweet because this is my last semester,” Silva said. “Being an international student on top of that, you just never know when you’re going to go back. I’m holding my fingers crossed that when May comes, we’ll be able to have an in-person commencement.”

Anshika Singh, ‘22, is the only member of the Lehigh women’s tennis team who is learning from her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, this semester. 

Although her online classes have not been too challenging for her, Singh said she misses her friends, teammates and the Lehigh community. 

“I’m the only one not at school right now, and they’ve been doing workouts and activities,” Singh said. “I still talk to all of them, but it’s weird not to be with my team.”

As a remote student, one of the biggest challenges can be communicating with friends, classmates and professors, Lee said. 

She said she finds it difficult to communicate in a manner that is both quick and efficient and that a conversation that would normally take five minutes in person can stretch between two or three days when using email to communicate.

“Of course it’s going to be harder because you can’t just swing by your professor’s office anymore,” Lee said.

Silva also said communication can be difficult, especially with large time differences. 

He said he is in a group project with a 12-hour time difference between him and one of the other members. 

“It’s hard,” Silva said. “I knew it was going to be hard. It takes really efficient time management and a little bit of sacrifice coordinating with people with the time difference.”

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