The Emotional Experiences of Indonesian PhD Students Studying in Australia during the COVID-19 Pandemic




COVID-19, emotional experience, Indonesia, students’ emotions, PhD students


This narrative study aims to explore the emotional experiences of two Indonesian students pursuing a doctorate (PhD) degree in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on semi-structured interview data, we found that the prevalence of COVID-19 affected the participants’ emotions and behaviors. Both participants experienced different emotions and behaviors in facing various challenges during the pandemic. The study stresses the importance of independence, family support, social support, and university support that the participants needed to reduce their anxiety and stress due to some social restrictions during the outbreak of COVID-19, especially for those who are extrovert.

Author Biographies


Supiani (corresponding author) is an English language lecturer in the Department of English Education at Universitas Islam Kalimantan MAB Banjarmasin, South Borneo, Indonesia. His research areas include ESL/EFL writing, written corrective feedback, ELT methodology, and motivation in language learning. Email:

Dina Rafidiyah

Dina Rafidiyah is a lecturer in the Department of English Education at Universitas Muhammadiyah Banjarmasin, South Borneo, Indonesia. She is interested in researching technology-enabled language instruction, vocational education, and language materials development. Email:


Yansyah is a lecturer in the Department of English Education at Universitas Muhammadiyah Banjarmasin, South Borneo, Indonesia. His research interests are in technology-enabled language learning, language materials development, English for specific purposes, and teacher professional development. Email:

Hafizhatu Nadia

Hafizhatu Nadia is a lecturer in the Department of English Education at Universitas Muhammadiyah Banjarmasin, South Borneo, Indonesia. Her research interests lie in ELT methodology, language materials development, and technology-enabled language learning. Email:


Baloran, E. T. (2020). Knowledge, attitudes, anxiety, and coping strategies of students during COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 25, 635-642. DOI: 10.1080/15325024.2020.1769300
Bao, W. (2020). COVID-19 and online teaching in higher education: A case study of Peking University. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 2(2), 113-115. DOI: 10.1002/hbe2.191
Bilecen, B. (2020). Commentary: COVID-19 pandemic and higher education: International mobility and students’ social protection. International Migration, 58(4), 263-266. DOI:10.1111/imig.12749
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. DOI: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
Brunsting, N. C., Zachry, C., Liu, J., Bryant, R., Fang, X., Wu, S., & Luo, Z. (2019). Sources of perceived social support, social-emotional experiences, and psychological well-being of international students. The Journal of Experimental Education. Terbit pertama online (hlm. 1-17). DOI: 10.1080/00220973.2019.1639598
Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Crea, G., & Francis, L. J. (2020). Psychological type and personal wellbeing among Catholic priests in Italy: A study in positive psychology. Mental Health, Religion and Culture. Terbit pertama online (hlm. 1–8). DOI: 10.1080/13674676.2020.1758645
Demuyakor, J. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) and online learning in higher institutions of education: A survey of the perceptions of Ghanaian international students in China. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 10(3), 1-9. DOI: 10.29333/ojcmt/8286
Fischer, K. (2020). Confronting the seismic impact of COVID-19: The need for research. Journal of International Students, 10(2), i-ii. DOI: 10.32674/jis.v10i2.2134
Fishman, D. K. (2001). Interpreting qualitative data: Methods for analysing talk, text and interaction. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 3(6). DOI: 10.1177/146879410200200111
Frydenberg, E., Martin, A. J., & Collie, R. J. (Eds). (2017). Social and emotional learning in Australia and the Asia-Pacific: Perspectives, programs and approaches. Cham: Springer.
Glass, C. R., & Westmont, C. M. (2014). Comparative effects of belongingness on the academic success and cross-cultural interactions of domestic and international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 38(1), 106-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.04.004
Harrell, M. C., & Bradley, M. A. (2009). Data collection methods: Semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
Hawkley, L. C., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2010). Loneliness matters: A theoretical and empirical review of consequences and mechanisms. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 40(2), 218-227. DOI: 10.1007/s12160-010-9210-8
Ma, H., & Miller, C. (2020). Trapped in a double bind: Chinese overseas student anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Communication. Terbit pertama online (hlm. 1-8). DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2020.1775439
Maddamsetti, J., Flennaugh, T. K., & Rosaen, C. L. (2018). Who should teach? A Chinese teacher candidate’s understandings of a good teacher and racialised experiences. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 46(2), 148-166. DOI: 10.1080/1359866X.2017.1399983
Nguyen, O. O. T. K., & Balakrishnan, V. D. (2020). International students in Australia–during and after COVID-19. Higher Education Research & Development. Terbit pertama online (hlm. 1-5). DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2020.1825346
Quattrone, F., Borghini, A., Emdin, M., & Nuti, S. (2020). Protecting higher education institutions from COVID-19: Insights from an Italian experience. Journal of American College Health. Terbit pertama online (hlm. 1-2). DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1791885
Radley, A. (1979). The social psychology of learning: A ‘naïve’ description of educational experience. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 3(1), 82-90. DOI: 10.1080/0309877790030108
Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069-1081. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.57.6.1069
Soong, H., Kerkham, L., Reid-Nguyen, R., Lucas, B., Geer, R., & Mills-Bayne, M. M. (2020). Reimagining transcultural identity: A case study of field experiences for international preservice teachers. Teaching Education. Terbit pertama online (hlm. 1-17). DOI: 10.1080/10476210.2020.1790516
Tran, L. T. (2020). Teaching and engaging international students: People-to-people connections and people-to-people empathy. Journal of International Students, 10(3). xii-xvii. DOI: 10.32674/JIS.V10I3.2005
Turashvili, T., & Japaridze, M. (2012). Psychological well-being and its relation to academic performance of students in Georgian context. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 49, 73-81.
Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. New York: The State University of New York.
Van Manen, M. (1997). From meaning to method. Qualitative Health Research, 7(3), 345-369.
Widodo, H. P. (2014). Methodological considerations in interview data transcription. International Journal of Innovation in English Language Teaching and Research, 3(1), 101-107.
Wolf, D. M., & Phung, L. (2019). Studying in the United States: Language learning challenges, strategies, and support services. Journal of International Students, 9(1), 211-224. DOI: 10.32674/jis.v9i1.273
Xue, E., Li, J., Li, T., & Shang, W. (2020). How China’s education responses to COVID-19: A perspective of policy analysis. Educational Philosophy and Theory. Terbit pertama online (hlm. 1-13). DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2020.1793653
Yu, B., Bodycott, P., & Mak, A. S. (2019). Language and interpersonal resource predictors of psychological and sociocultural adaptation: International students in Hong Kong. Journal of Studies in International Education. Terbit pertama online (hlm. 1-17). DOI: 10.1177/1028315318825336




How to Cite

Supiani, Rafidiyah, D., Yansyah, & Nadia, H. (2020). The Emotional Experiences of Indonesian PhD Students Studying in Australia during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of International Students, 10(S3), 108–125.