Li Chun, the beginning of Spring, is the first one of the traditional Chinese twenty-four solar terms. It signifies that winter has ended and spring begins, representing new hope. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some international students living abroad cannot return to the UM campus. After being away from UM for almost a year, they miss their teachers, fellow course mates, their affiliated college and every bit of life and nature therein. In order to alleviate their “homesickness”, Ma Man Kei and Lo Pak Sam College (MLC) held “Meet-up in the Could for International Students” on 3rd February 2021. This event attracted over 60 local and international students from various countries and regions.

The event started with a speech by Prof. Billy So, Vice Rector of Student Affairs. In his speech, Prof. So said that COVID-19 pandemic had altered plans of many people. Wherever students are, he hoped that they would maintain a positive attitude and prepare for challenges to come. Prof. So encouraged students to learn how to be grateful and keep in touch with their family members. He believed that there would be new hopes in the near future. Interim College Master of MLC, Prof. Katrine Wong, said that compared to those whose jobs, families and health have been affected by the pandemic, we were already the fortunate ones. She reminded students to cherish both alone times and times spent with their families. At the same time, students must continue to better themselves through learning and Katrine looked forward to seeing them in Macao again.

During the online meeting, students shared what they wanted to do most after returning to UM; some also shared interesting things about studying at home. The climax of the activity was a virtual tour in UM. Ten volunteer students currently in UM walked our international students to popular landmarks of UM, to professors’ offices and eventually back to MLC. These volunteers showed skills and professionalism as they took our audience to different spots of the campus.

Through the online meeting, international students did not only meet their “long-lost” friends online, but felt the care and love from UM and the College.