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Fun Zoom activities made Christmas less lonely

The invitations to the various activities that the students could sign up for.
The invitations to the various activities that the students could sign up for.
Published Jan 15, 2021

Hello there Alexandra Leyton, communications officer at EECS. You were the project manager for social activities for international students at EECS during the Christmas holidays. What led you to launch this initiative?

– At an early stage, we feared that the Christmas and New Year holidays would be particularly lonely for this group of students, given the ongoing pandemic. So we wanted to do something fun to help reduce their isolation.

Photo: Alexandra Leyton
Alexandra Leyton, project manager for the festivities, made sure that the invitation to the event was spread on various social media channels. Photo: private.

EECS’s international student ambassadors were tasked to come up with fun activities and competitions. The basic premise was that these activities could not pose any risk of spreading infection. It was only natural that the majority of the events needed to take place digitally.

A lot of people wanted to participate and contribute

According to Alexandra Leyton, the student ambassadors showed a lot of interest and demonstrated some serious creativity, and they really gave it their all during preparations. They organised competitions and activities such as “draw and guess”, quizzes in Kahoot, online gaming days, and screenings of, among other things, the Donald Dock Christmas Special. The various EECS student sections also contributed with a virtual escape room through Zoom, where participants had to solve different tasks together. Additionally, a coronavirus-safe outdoor treasure hunt was organised in the Lappis area, in which individual students would look for hidden treasure around their surroundings.

“We called the event the “Winter and New Year’s Festivities”. Many of the participants do not normally celebrate Christmas. That is why we did not want to focus on Christmas and its religious significance and traditions,” says Alexandra Leyton.

A total of 50-60 students participated in the festivities and each activity had between 10 and 15 participants. Most were international students at EECS, but other KTH students were welcome to participate as well.

What was it like to host most activities digitally?

“The students really felt the need to “meet” other people, and Zoom should not be underestimated as a tool for promoting social interactions. In this day and age, it has become a new way of hanging out, after all. We noticed a lot of students opening up and putting themselves out there,” says Alexandra Leyton.

Photo: Mandar Josi in front of an Indian flag
Mandar Josi

Mandar Joshi is studying for a Master of Science in Information Technology at KTH and was one of the participants.

Why did you chose to participate in these activities?

Because the activities seemed fun, and it was a good opportunity to take a break from my studies ahead of the exam period in early January.

What are your thoughts on the activities?

I though these festivities were really fun. I got to see, speak to, solve questions with and compete with people from around the world. It really illustrated the diversity among the students at KTH.

What was it like to participate in the activities digitally?

After having used Zoom for almost a year now, participating in the digital competitions was really easy. The most fun activity was the digital escape room, where the various student sections at EECS had set up different tasks online for us to solve as a group.

The main purpose of the festivities was to make the students feel less lonely during the holidays. What are your thoughts on that?

 I think this was an amazing initiative, which definitely helped international students feel less lonely. It was a good opportunity for national as well as international students to “meet” during the dark winter days and doing fun activities together, especially on Christmas and New Year’s!

Words: Marianne Norén
Illustrations: Yiwen Lu

Belongs to: Current
Last changed: Jan 15, 2021