Online learning a hit with Russian student

News News & events

14 May 2020

While it’s fair to say that some have struggled with the transition to online learning, especially when there was previously opportunities to mix and mingle on campus, go out for lunch and get hands-on in the classroom, some students at Ara have embraced the change and came away with a positive perception of how the change was handled.

Viktor Cheremisov, a student living in Christchurch, but originally from Sochi in Southern Russia, came to NZ to “improve himself, (and) decided it was time to get an overseas education, and I thought New Zealand was the best choice for me.”

After beginning his one-year course of study in supply chain and logistics at Ara as an on-campus student, Viktor says that the move to online delivery was a good preparation for his industry and a post-COVID world. “There’s now two eras – before COVID and after. And no-one knows when it will return to normal.”


Viktor and his hometown of Sochi, Russia. 

Viktor, already an experienced purchasing manager in his home country, is certain that remote working will increasingly become the default mode for many employers. “In my opinion, studying online was a good experience as many companies, even before COVID-19, were starting to work online in many sectors, so the online learning experience will help us students to work better in the new environment that’s definitely coming.”

While Viktor wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Ara’s online delivery, he felt it was handled efficiently. “I think that Ara was basically prepared for this situation - to teach online – and we came to understand that we could work remotely during this outbreak. The shifting of term break helped us to transition online, and gave everyone time to prepare. We’re using the Ara app, video learning on Panopticon and we have Zoom sessions with our tutors so we can discuss topics, and talk about our assessments. During our Zoom sessions I was also communicating with my classmates, which was a wonderful experience because that’s how it will work in real life. When we first started it was difficult, but every week it got better and better. We started to create agendas for our meetings and start to work, not just to talk. So our communication was not dropped!”

Viktor was also impressed with Ara’s online library facilities. He says “Ara has a wonderful online library search, which means I can access any type of research or literature for my assignments.” His success with his research was also underpinned by his personal perseverance – Viktor admits “I didn’t have any bad experiences with being motivated, I was prepared to do my best.”

When it concerns moving from study to employment, Viktor is optimistic. He is currently planning to apply for a two-year New Zealand post study work visa, and is confident that his study will ensure this plan is a success. “Every subject we study is preparing us for work and work placements. We always study practical things, using real-world examples for our case studies and so on.”

He commented that if he was able to give advice to other overseas students considering studying at Ara, he would encourage them in this goal. “All of my expectations were realized, but the reality was even better than I expected. I wanted to improve my English, develop my professional education and these goals were achieved - there’s been a lot of improvement.”

Beth Knowles, Ara’s International Director, agrees that much about the transition has been successful.  “It’s great to see international students embracing the additional learning opportunities that on-line learning is providing. With the positive attitudes many of our international students are displaying in this challenging situation, we feel so proud and know they will have a highly successful future ahead of them.”

While Viktor is looking forward to coming back to campus – “you can communicate with people about ideas on the spot” - he enthuses,  he’s also looking forward to the opportunity to travel around and see something of New Zealand, even as he prepares for employment.

When it comes to the more distant future, Viktor sees his experience at Ara as a model of what future students can look forward to globally. “A combination of real campus life plus some distance learning would be good.”