27 April 2021

University of South Australia student Xinyi XuShe is a mentor to dozens of new students, has co-founded a thriving language and cultural exchange community, and is the treasurer of the student Human Resources Management Club – all while maintaining a perfect grade point average.

Yet University of South Australia student Xinyi Xu has never stepped foot on campus – or even visited Adelaide, the place she had hoped to move to last year before the pandemic put plans on hold across the globe.

Instead Xinyi, who lives in her hometown Kaifeng – one of China’s eight ancient capitals, has spent her first year at UniSA in the digital world but with very real connections to the Adelaide community.

She is now sharing her own experiences in an effort to help new students settle in through the UniSA’s UniMentor program.

“This time last year, I was scared and confused – I didn’t know what to expect from online courses,” she says.

“The online experience was much easier than I expected. I was able to participate in university life albeit through a screen. Although there are still barriers because of the physical distance, I feel part of the community and have already made some great friends in Adelaide.

“So many people were there to support me when I started at UniSA – I wanted to give something back now that I’ve found my feet. I got a taste of student volunteering last semester when I attended online mentoring sessions and conducted a virtual tour of my hometown through the University’s Your Culture, My Culture program.

“This year I applied to be part of the official UniMentor program. After completing my training online, I now send a weekly update to students and answer questions from the 42 students assigned to me.”

Outside of university life, Xinyi is one of the co-founders of the Delta Project, established to build a community of people who want to appreciate different cultures and foreign languages despite travel restrictions.

Xinyi’s accomplishments have already been recognised in Australia. Late last year she was awarded Study Adelaide’s 2020 Special Commendation Award, acknowledging the achievements of offshore students. In January this year, Xinyi was selected as a delegate for the Australia-China Emerging Leaders Summit.

While the Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), Bachelor of Business (Finance) double degree student has no regrets about her online study experience, she is looking forward to moving to Adelaide once borders re-open.

“While I’ve never been there, my friends have told me about the beauty of Adelaide’s beaches, nature and animals,” she says.

“I can’t wait to see it for myself and to meet all the people who have become friends online during the last year.” 

Due to the global pandemic, UniSA moved towards a ‘study online now and transfer to on-campus later’ mode to enable students to continue their studies. Students are sent customised study plans to help map out their online to on-campus journey so they can continue with their study and transfer to Adelaide as soon as they can travel again.

Media contact: Rosanna Galvin T: +61 8 8302 0578 M: +61 434 603 457 E: rosanna.galvin@unisa.edu.au

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