The pandemic continues to disrupt several aspects of students' life. Online study has become the new normal as numerous campuses are still closed and student dormitories almost empty. With most of their colleagues attending student events from home, Yenching Academy’s residential advisors (RA) are challenged to devise programs to maintain student engagements and networking while also attending to their needs.
To understand how the limited number of on-campus students impact the responsibilities of residential advisors in the COVID-19 pandemic era, we invited two RAs to share their experiences and thoughts on the issue. The scholars are Yoneda Akihiro (米田明広) from Japan and Song Ankang (宋安康) from Mainland China, both currently at the Peking University main campus coordinating student events for on-campus YCA scholars and others scattered across the globe.
The interview touched on several themes like their reasons to become RAs, a description of their typical RA work week, and their favorite planned and executed student activities. Other subjects included their techniques of juggling RA duties alongside their student activities like thesis writing, and their biggest takeaway as RAs.
They both expressed their enthusiasm in organizing YCA student activities and promoting interaction and experience sharing between students from different national and cultural backgrounds. This is important because the current YCA scholars are from more than 40 countries (2019 and 2020 cohort from 42 and 30 countries, respectively).
One of such activities was the YCA online Olympics. Ankang explained that the RAs designed the online Olympic to enable scholars to find a more personal way to connect with one another by doing something fun and motivating themselves to do more exercises and demonstrate their sport talents.
They were grateful for the opportunity to serve the YCA family as the role improved their interpersonal and programs development skills and provided them with broader perspectives on scholars’ national values and cultures.
Interviewer / Written by: Dickson David Agbaji