Our alumni are sharing their stories in the form of postcards from all over the world and letting us know how they are dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 situation from their current locations. Read their stories below.
If you would like to send us a postcard, please email your story (350 words), two images (and a short video if you like) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Grace Watson - Bologna Italy
Hi, I’m Grace Watson and I’ve been living in a small town just outside of Bologna, Italy, since February 2019. I completed a Bachelor of Biomedicine at Monash and now I’m studying Medicine and Surgery at the University of Bologna.
On 23rd February I wrote this to my family in my blog …”I cannot fathom the idea that I’ve been living my absolute childhood dream for exactly one year now. The time has absolutely flown past. I have so many things to reflect upon. Some regrets, some things I wish I'd done differently, many things I wish I'd have known first, but above all, many, many amazing, beautiful memories that I will cherish forever.”
Lauren Haberfield - Paris, France
Hello everyone, greetings from Paris. My name is Lauren Haberfield, I completed a Bachelor of Design at Monash University. I've lived in Paris for the last 6 years and work in advertising as an Associate Creative Director at the agency BETC.
I haven't left my apartment except for essentials or seen anyone except my partner since the 14th of March. I have to admit I was one of the skeptical ones that thought we would never go into lockdown so once it happened it took me a week to accept I would be trapped in my 40m2 apartment for the unseeable future.
Solisou Preap - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Hello, my name is Solisou Preap. I completed a Master of Communication and Media Studies at Monash University in 2017. I was fortunate to receive an Australia Award scholarship from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to study at Monash. I am one of five children and the only one to study internationally. Since returning to my home country, Cambodia, I have worked as an Account Director at an advertising company.
Life has changed dramatically when Coronavirus or Covid-19 became a pandemic disease. Cambodians started to feel panic and the situation escalated inevitably after a sudden and severe outbreak in South Korea and Italy. Citizens are encouraged to stay home and limit their daily activities. Schools were ordered to close while some businesses can continue with extreme caution.
Joel Smith - Melbourne, Australia
Since leaving Monash in 2010 after completing a Bachelor of Journalism, I have developed a career in sports digital and social media. However, due to the current circumstances, I write this to you having lost all sources of income. Times are tough but I find comfort in the fact that I am not alone.
It has actually made me appreciate my partner (Johanna) even more who is a midwife, working on the frontline at the Royal Women’s Hospital. She continues to amaze me every day with her attitude to pick up the slack for where I cannot. Speaking of the frontline, a shout out to all those medical staff who are doing an amazing job containing this virus as we know it.
Yly Suardy - Jakarta, Indonesia
I want to share the first week of our life in quarantine. The first week was a struggle for everyone, to us as parents, to the kids because of schooling, our house devolved into utter chaos. As a working mother, I rarely find myself spending much time at home, much less to this extent, so for the first time in a while, I had to experience the stress of dealing with two rowdy children on top of the ever demanding workload of my job. Suddenly I needed to be a teacher, a mother while balancing as a counsel to various companies. All of this stay-at-home mom business was new to me. I didn’t know how to teach my troublemaker of a son who is more akin to resembling an energetic monster instead of an actual child, or how to deal with an angsty teenager who wants nothing more than to hide away in her room all day.
Dominique Staindl - London, United Kingdom
As it has for so many, lockdown has provided me a state-mandated opportunity for reflection. It puts the feeling of home into perspective. For many of us overseas, ‘home’ seems further when the world is in chaos. While for others, it’s closing in - voluntary entrapment with a TV and soft cushions.
Since graduating from Monash with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Visual Arts, I’ve been paid to communicate about the impact buildings have on our lives. I bet you can name ten musicians, but do you know who designed the walls around you or ensured you can see outside? The spaces we can afford have arguably never been so important as we behave in homes and battle in hospitals.
Chris Larkin - Bangkok, Thailand
I’ve been based on and off (but mainly on) in Bangkok since about 2001. I originally came over to work for the Thai government at the Ministry of Finance but moved to the private sector a few years after that. These days I run my own small firm, CLC Asia, which advises companies on investing in South East Asia.
Living in Thailand you take for granted that instability or disaster of some sort are part and parcel of living here – and without fail the country throws them at you, with Covid-19 being just the latest!
Masitah Salleh - Malaysia
Hello everyone, my name is Masitah. I graduated from Monash Malaysia with a Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) and now work at Monash. Since the campus closed, we've all been working from home. I’ve discovered I tend to snack a lot while working at home which is not entirely healthy. Then Ramadan came, when Muslims are required to fast, and I’ve had to seriously curb my eating.
Every year, I would go back to my hometown to break the fast and celebrate Eid (end of Ramadan) with my family. My mum would prepare all her delicious cooking and we would spend quality family time over meals. However this year it will be different. The Prime Minister of Malaysia announced no traveling to other states.
Nahida Shumona - Dhaka, Bangladesh
I completed a Master of Arts (Diplomacy and International Trade) at Monash. I am the Director General with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so from 26th March to 26th April 2020 I worked from home which allowed me time to organize my apartment a bit. From 27th April I work for four hours at the office. My once a week relaxed grocery shopping became a thing of the past! I order groceries through a service.
Christiane Zeh-Kuhl - Hong Kong
Hello, my name is Christiane Zeh-Kuhl and I am originally from France. I have been living in Hong Kong with my family for the last 12 years. I completed a Master’s of Counseling at Monash in 2018 through Kaplan here in Hong Kong. I am working as a mindfulness-based counselor and am currently studying CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) online with the Beck Institute to further my knowledge of CBT.
Life in Hong Kong has been unpredictable for the last 12 months, beginning with the protests that changed life as we knew it and then followed by having to face the virus. It has all disrupted our lives very suddenly, which was frightening, especially in the early days.
Alice Wong - Singapore
Hello everyone, greetings from Singapore. Trust all is well. My name is Alice Wong, I completed a Bachelor of Communications at Monash University, Australia (Gippsland Campus) in 1998 - well, sad to say the campus is gone now.
Having to study overseas in Monash was the most enjoyable moment in my life. Those days were memories now and I'd like to sincerely thank all the staff and lecturers at Monash - they have been very kind and supportive to me during those wonderful years.
Adam Bahfen - Jakarta, Indonesia
Hi everyone. My name is Adam Bahfen and I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia. I completed my Bachelor of Engineering specialising in mechanical engineering at Monash University in 2018. I am now working as a mechanical engineer with Meinhardt Indonesia.
As a young engineer, I have huge interest and enthusiasm to learn and develop myself. I have a very interesting and exciting first job as a consulting engineer. However, COVID-19 has a huge impact in working culture as an engineer.
Heather Bray - Bulga Forest, NSW, Australia
I'd just like to say that my first Biology lecture at Monash (Clayton) in 1968 was by Professor Canny of the Botany Department and was a thorough preview of the inevitability of a global pandemic and its projected spread and ramifications for our consumer culture! I took it to heart and on graduating with honours in Zoology and a Diploma of Education in 1972 it took me only a few years to find land and begin a voluntary career of sustainable living.
Kishen Shashikant - Malaysia
My name is Kishen Shashikant. I graduated from Monash University Malaysia with the Bachelors of Business & Commerce majoring in Accounting & Finance in 2016. I think I’m personable and confident, and both of these traits were developed at Monash University – not only through the various experiences from Student Associations in Monash but also through the people I met and the course I took.
I joined Nielsen late last year as an Analytic Consultant. It’s only been 6 months but I’ve developed critical skills which is crucial as I take my career to the next level in life.
Judith Anglin Abraham - London, United Kingdom
Hello from London! I’m sending positive vibes to all readers during a time of fantastic opportunities for us to breathe deeply, take stock and possibly change our future pathways. I moved from Melbourne to London in 1994. I completed an MA and MBA at Monash, and Graduate Diploma of Finance at another university.
I wrote down years ago a wonderful statement from Alain de Botton about seeing our thoughts as butterflies and quickly capturing them by writing down these illusive gems. The illusiveness is due to casting our intuition aside, in favour of the more rational and analytical approach from our toolbox of life.
Nathalie McCaughey - Lima, Peru
It has been tough to say the least. I would love to report that I spent my days doing yoga, Netflix and learning how to cook exotic dishes, but this could not be further from the truth of our life here. Police and military are ever present and rules are strictly enforced via high monetary fines.
My name is Karan Rathod, a 2014 graduate from Monash University in Melbourne, where I learned a lot about Finance and Econometrics. Early on, I'd set my compass to live overseas at some point in the near future, but I would never have guessed that I’d be hunkered down in a cozy New York City apartment, under quarantine in the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the midst of history-defining protests for the Black Lives Matter movement.
New York City has sent my sensory system into overdrive, and it’s in a particularly high gear right now.
Hey Monash! How’s it going? I hope you are all keeping safe and well, wherever you may be around the world. My name is Vincent Pung (Bachelor of Biomedical Science) and I’m currently working in Beijing at North Head, a strategic communications and public affairs consulting firm. In mid-February, when I returned to Beijing from my Melbourne home visit, I was in lock-down for two weeks before being allowed to return to work at the office.
Surprisingly, things in Beijing have been relatively safe for around four months now and most daily activities have returned to a new normal.
Hi everyone! I’m Amanda O’Brien. I completed my Bachelor of Economics at Monash in 1991 and enjoyed it so much that I returned to do a Bachelor of Business Marketing (Honours) which I completed in 1993.
I am an Australian who has lived in London for 18 years. I live in Shepherd’s Bush in Central London. I haven’t left West London since the lockdown began. As a travel blogger and a marketing consultant normally I would have been overseas at least 3-4 times already this year so my passport is quite dusty!