Jess Tong is an International Boarding Student here at Rye St Antony, Oxford. When the Coronavirus pandemic worsened, Jess got on a plane back to Hong Kong. We can’t imagine what it must be like leaving your friends and your life so suddenly and travelling across the world during a global pandemic – Jess your resilience and bravery is to be commended. Since being back in Hong Kong, Jess has been elected as one of our prefects for next year and we can’t wait to welcome her to back to start her new role and continue her study. Something we are busy preparing for at school.
Here, Jess has written some reflections on her experience back in March her journey and virtual learning with a time difference which we would like to share:
The strangest flight ever!
When the government decided to shut down all the schools in the UK, I went to my guardian’s house to stay for a few days and then flew back to my own country. It was a dangerous time to fly – to have so many people all crowded in a small area, at a time where you are supposed to be social distancing – I was so nervous! Heathrow airport was quieter than I have ever seen before! Most people were wearing a mask and so after check-in, I found a place (far away from other people) and put on my own protective gear. Luckily my guardian gave me a raincoat, so I put it on and hoped it would protect me. I was also given googles in case I wanted to swim in the winter (very unlikely.) I decided to wear them on the flight as an extra precaution. The gear was quite uncomfortable… but at least it helped me stop touching my face.
After hours and hours, I finally arrived in Hong Kong, it was the most unforgettable and uncomfortable plane journey ever! When I was on the plane barely anyone left their seat, not even to go to the bathroom and barely anyone ate or drank either! Luckily, I safely got back to Hong Kong and was tested for Covid-19. I had no symptoms and so hadn’t caught it. As soon as I left the airport, I went to my auntie’s house where I stayed for 14 days of isolation.
Unusual School Day
So you will all probable know the time zones in Hong Kong and the UK are different.
Exactly how many hours different?……7! So when students in the UK have lessons in the morning, I have mine in the afternoon at 4 o’clock, not bad timing, right? Every day I don’t need to set an alarm, I wake up naturally. Usually, I wake up at 8:30 and have breakfast – I then have some time to chill out and do my homework. Having school start in the afternoon, is not always a bad thing. Sometimes if I want to go out with my friends I will wake up early at like six or 5:30 ( you may be thinking that its’s kind of crazy to wake up this early BUT waking up early and going to sleep early is good for your body). This way I have some more time to spend with them but also manage to do my school tasks.
From Monday to Friday I register at 3:45pm and start my lesson at 4 o’clock. My A-Levels are mostly practical subjects. So I usually will talk to the teacher at the start of the lesson for 10 to 20 minutes to discuss what I did and what feedback and tasks they give me then I will start doing my work and tell them what I did. We will end our lesson by video chat or by sharing our ideas in the common area. It depends on different days, but most of the day my lessons end at 10:45 pm which is kind of late. But to conclude…I do enjoy remote learning as I get more time to prepare for the lesson and have learnt how to use my time wisely.
Rye St Antony, Oxford, is working to welcome its students back to its Boarding School. We have been in constant contact and it is certainly true to say that our site just isn’t the same without them here!