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Studying health online in the new COVID-19 world

28 January 2021
Meet second year Master of Public Health student, Yutong Wang

When COVID-19 hit, international student Yutong Wang was just weeks away from starting her degree at Sydney. Travelling via Thailand she arrived on campus in March but by August she was back at home in Nanjing, China, studying her degree fully online.

Like many other Chinese students, Yutong didn’t want the COVID-19 pandemic to stand in the way of her studies. She was quick to make use of the University’s international network, landing an internship through the China Industry Internship Program (CIIP) with the China Cardiovascular Association (CCA) in Suzhou.

Putting knowledge into practice, Yutong says this internship gave her a better understanding of what public health means and an early taste of working life. Now in her final semester, she is excited at the opportunity to graduate in a post-pandemic world with a degree in public health and some valuable work experience.

Her only regret – not having more time to enjoy the sites of Sydney.

Yutong Wang in The Quadrangle

Yutong Wang in The Quadrangle

How have you found the transition to online study?

I've adapted very well and enjoy having more discretionary time compared to offline classes. This has allowed me to keep the habit of going to the gym every day. I also don't have to worry about being confused about the content of the lectures because I can review all the recordings over and over again.  

How do you stay connected to your peers and academics?

In addition to our regular class meetings, we also create our own private Zoom meetings. It's more like a social catch up than a serious class and the topics we discuss are not limited to the course content. As for Chinese students, it's even more convenient, we use WeChat.

How did you find out about the China Industry Internship Program?

It was promoted to us in my student email. My classmate from China also asked me if I wanted to participate in the program with her. The program is well known among Chinese students.

What have you found to be the most interesting part of your degree so far?

It is in this COVID-19 condition that people seem to be becoming aware of the importance of public health and preventive medicine. It is a matter of pride to be recognised for the profession you study.

When will you graduate and what do you plan on doing afterwards?

The first semester of this year will be my last semester at the University of Sydney. After I graduate I hope to join a government department and get a job related to research and biostatistics. With COVID-19 gradually being brought under control, public health in the post-epidemic era is of great concern.

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