Almost a Dream: Going to College from Home 搬到学校几乎是个梦想

被纽约市帕森斯设计学院录取的国际学生通常会搬到城市,并在教室外学习美国文化。他们体验纽约的风光,饮食和美食,并有机会认识其他在纽约生活和工作的人。

现在,这些国际学生和他们的家人回到了家里。他们的课程是在线提供的,有时在半夜里他们周围的每个人都在睡觉的时候教书。

妮可尔·贝塞拉(Nicole Becerra)今年17岁,来自秘鲁。一年前,她移居纽约学习英语,以便就读帕森斯设计学院。帕森斯是新学校的五所大学之一。

贝塞拉说,像许多一年级学生一样,她在纽约的头几个月里体重有所增加。原因之一可能是她正在吃城市提供的各种美味佳肴。她于2019年底返回家中,并在冠状病毒大流行袭击时在那里。从那时起,她只参加在线课程。

我最近与妮可尔·贝塞拉(Nicole Becerra)进行了交谈。

“实际上,当我在我的国家时,去纽约读书是我的梦想,因为在我第一次到纽约……在机场时,就像感到,'不,我不想到纽约 - 我想和家人在一起。但是现在我有机会虚拟地在纽约但在我的国家以的方式出现……对我来说,这很完美,但我知道我必须回到面对面的课堂。我今天很享受。”

贝塞拉补充说,她觉得自己又回到了高中:住在家里,在自己的房间里睡觉。她不仅在学习英语,而且还有时间去学习自己喜欢的科目,例如法语。

她补充说,在病毒流行期间,她的家人很庆幸她在读大学的时候仍然可以 与他们在一起。

“他们真的很高兴,因为……他们已经有三个月没见到我了…………她在可以在这里学习,真实不可思议。”


说出来并被理解

陈格洛里亚是另一位现在在台湾的帕森斯大学学生。她被迫改变睡眠周期。因此,她现在整夜都处于清醒状态,有的课是在半夜2点上课。

陈女士告诉美国之音,她的家人要求她在半夜上课的时候说话保持低声,但她希望大声说话。

“这确实使他们感到困扰……他们会说:‘您能保持音量低一点吗?’我会说,‘是的。我会尝试的,但是在在线课程中,您不确定人们是否能正确听到您的声音。‘因此,我只想保持自己的音量,也不要让人们认为亚洲人总是害羞不敢说话。”

王阿瑞莎是俄亥俄州立大学的一名数学系学生。三月份学校关闭时,她住在俄亥俄州。现在她回到了中国,正在上网上课。她觉得在网上进行小组活动比较困难。王女士说学生们发现很难在在线分组讨论室进行讨论。

“他们不能像我们见面时那样理解我所表达的内容...... 而我也不能完全理解他们所要表达的内容,以至于我们彼此难以合作。”


网上课程的优点

陈格洛里亚说,在网上课程的一件好事是所有课程都被录了下来。她说这对她应对考试很有帮助。

“实际上,我认为网上课程的最大好处就是将整个课程都录下来,这给了我很多时间来回顾和理解我当时不了解的一些要点。”

与我交谈的几位学生都说,他们不会怀念纽约市的交通。贝塞拉说,很高兴现在不需要花费在上下学路途中的时间了。

“我不需要在公共交通上浪费时间。我不必在雪中等我的火车……”

陈女士说,改变季节时的时髦服装也不再是一个顾虑了。

“我真正喜欢在线课程的一件事是,我不必再忍受纽约繁忙的交通了,因为纽约的早上时间表真是太紧张了。而且我不必想,“我上学应该穿什么衣服?”这对我来说真的很舒服。


久坐的危害

对于许多老师而言,花在计算机上的长时间比面对面的课堂要累。伊丽莎白·马纳·布鲁克斯(Elizabeth Marner-Brooks)为帕森斯的国际学生教英语。她告诉美国之音,她一天中大部分时间都是坐着,因此就出现一些健康问题。 “我现在告诫人们。我坐在那里,我甚至没有意识到他们有课间休息。所以,我就确保我自己也有课间休息。我曾在两天里,花了20个小时在计算机上使用 Zoom。所以,我需要很小心,你说对吗?- 他们要休息一下 - 我就站起来,我走一走,我动一动。久坐是有危险的。”


短期课程

马纳·布鲁克斯(Marner-Brooks)说,由于转向在线教学,她的上课时间已经减少。学生要求她在组建讨论小组时给予帮助,这样他们可以获得更多的英语口语经验。一名学生组成了WhatsApp小组,并注意到小组中的每个成员都在不同的国家/地区。


讨论问题:

  1. 你对这篇文章的哪些地方感到新奇?

  2. 对于国际学生来说,因为新冠病毒课程有什么样特殊的改变?

  3. 在你那里,因为新冠病毒对你来说有哪些变动和挑战?

  4. 这次的传染病是否有任何正面的或者可取的方面?


Vocabulary:

pandemic – n. a disease that spreads across countries and usually affects large numbers of people

opportunity – n. a chance; a series of events that makes it possible to do something

virtualadj. existing or done on computers or on the Internet

cycle – n. a series of events that are repeated in the same order

toleratev. to let or permit something to exist, happen, or be done

International students accepted to the Parsons School of Design in New York City usually move to the city and learn about American culture outside of the classroom. They experience the sights, sounds and eateries of New York, and have a chance to meet other people who live and work there.

Now, these international students are back at home with their families. Their classes are offered online and sometimes taught in the middle of the night while everyone around them is sleeping.

Nicole Becerra is a 17-year-old from Peru. She moved to New York to study English a year ago so that she could attend the Parsons School of Design. Parsons is one of the five colleges at The New School.

Becerra says that like many first-year students, she gained weight during her first few months in New York. One reason may be that she was eating the wonderful mix of foods that the city offers. She returned home at the end of 2019 and was there when the coronavirus pandemic struck. Since then, she has only taken online classes.

I spoke recently with Nicole Becerra.

“Actually it's a dream for me to be in my country and study in New York because when I had to go the first time to New York … at the airport, it was like, ‘No, I don't want to go to New York -- I want to be with my family. But now that I have the opportunity to be in a virtual way in New York but in my country … for me, it's perfect, but I know I have to return to the face to face classes. I’m enjoying nowadays.”

Becerra added that she feels like she is in high school again: living at home and sleeping in her own room. She is not only studying English, but has time to study subjects she simply has an interest in, like French.

She adds that her family is thankful she is with them during the pandemic.

“They're really happy because … they didn't see me for more than three months and … it's crazy that she's here and studying.”

Speaking up and being understood

Gloria Chen is another Parsons student who is now in Taiwan. She was forced to change her sleep cycle. So, she is now awake all night, taking classes at 2 in the morning on some days.

Chen told VOA her family asks her to keep her voice low in the middle of the night, but she wants to speak louder.

“It does bother them… They will say, “Can you keep your volume a little bit lower?” And I will say, ‘Yeah. I’ll try it’ but in the online classes, you're not sure if people can hear you exactly. So, I just want to keep that my volume up and people don't think that Asian people are all shy.”

Aretha Wang is a mathematics major at Ohio State University. She was living in Ohio when the school closed in March. Now she is back home in China and taking online classes. She feels that it is harder to do the group work on the internet. Wang says students find it difficult to carry on a discussion in online breakout rooms.

“They can’t understand me as [they do] in person that much .. and I cannot understand them that much. It feels like it makes us hard to understand each other and it also makes us hard to cooperate with each other.”

Good things about online classes

Gloria Chen says one good thing about online education is that all the classes are recorded. She says this helps her when she is studying for an exam.

“In fact, I think the best thing about online classes is that the whole class will be recorded, and which gives me a lot of time to review and understand some points I don't understand at the time.”

Several of the students I spoke with said they do not miss New York City’s traffic. Becerra says she enjoys not spending time on getting to and from school.

“I don't waste time in public transportation. I don't have to be in the snow waiting for my train...”

And special clothing for the changing seasons is no longer a concern, said Chen.

“The one thing that I really enjoy about online classes is that I don't have to tolerate the traffic anymore in New York because the morning schedule in New York is really crazy. And I don't have to think, ‘What clothes should I wear for school?’ which is a really comfortable situation for me.”

Danger of sitting for too long

For many teachers, the long hours spent at a computer are more tiring than in-person classes. Elizabeth Marner-Brooks teaches English to Parsons’ international students. She told VOA she had several health problems that were caused by sitting for most of the day. “I caution people now. I'm sitting and I don't even realize that they have a break. So, I make sure I do that. I had 20 hours on the computer for Zoom in two days. So, I'm careful, you know -- they go on a break -- I stand up, I walk, I move. There are dangers.”

Shorter classes

Marner-Brooks says the length of her classes has gone down with the move to teaching online. Students have asked for her help in forming discussion groups so they can get more experience speaking English. One student formed a WhatsApp group and noted every member of the group is in a different country.

Source:  https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/almost-a-dream-going-to-college-from-home/5596636.html


Discussion questions:

  1. What is interesting to you from this article?
  2. What are some significant changes for these international students due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  3. What are/were some changes and challenges for you as a result of COVID-19 in your region?
  4. Are/Were there any positive things that resulted from the pandemic experience for you?