[Best Pick] Almost A Dream: Going To College From Home

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During this period of hard time, do you want to know how other country’s student think about the online classes? Does online classes influence theri school life?

Jill Robbins wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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.

“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.”

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.”

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.

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.

Any thoughts about your online classes?


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  • Online classes irritates me I. Like to study in physical class.where you can spend time with ur friends and do fun and teacher also gave you less assignments in physical classes than online classes

  • Online classes is much better for me.. Because now I have lot of time to do other activities and also I got a good time to spend with my family….

    • Ofcourse online classes is the best way to improve the english language .secondly, it’s saving time.

      • No way . It is not good for our eye . It can save a time but eye it once go that all but one thing for school students and college students what is that you can’t learn better in classroom and you can learn ask anything else to miss but in online class you can ask to miss but some teachers will not tell thay will speak and end of the meeting they will not listen to us is it students. is it I know because I am a student of school every one know that if you’re the school students or collage students school students you have to reply this message and college students pls reply for this message true or false that every one are telling that is online class is good. It is students I think so no fore the eye is important okay pls reply for this

  • The best thing of online classes is ,which every single student love that do anything without making any noise and sit anywhere or , all want, lie down on your bed and take classes as you want 😇☺😂😂😂

  • Online learning is the best learning because, I was lazy during physical class so covered own face sleep on the bench.
    So this the best opportunity meet open cam and voice off then I sleep 😊🙌

  • Online classes is good because if we miss any
    Lecture then we have option to watch bt it
    Not happen in face to face learning

  • I like online classes but it’s quite difficult for me because of some reasons. Like electricity , charging problem, internet issues, our surrounding . Uffff now I’m very happy going for University. U know it is ease to attend online class but hard nut to give online exams it take 12 hours per subject.

  • I like online classes but sometimes I feel frustrated when sir is teaching an important topic and suddenly the network has gone

  • I like online classes when the discipline is easy for me, when it’s more difficult, i prefer in person classes, because I think is easier take my doubts in classroom.

  • Online classes are better than offline classes but some thier is problem of listening the teacher becouse network connection

  • Online class, I think it’s so hard. It’s about the Wi-Fi signal, more the better is face to face cause we can meet our friend and get interaction with other people

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