International Students' Perceptions of Virtual Service Learning Program Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Sitti Nurfaidah Institut Agama Islam Negeri Kendari, Indonesia
  • Anna Riana Suryanti Tambunan Universitas Negeri Medan, Indonesia
  • Fadhila Yonata Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam Negeri Sultan Abdurrahman, Indonesia
  • Dewi Kurniawati Universitas Islam Neger, Indonesia
  • Reni Puspitasari Dwi Lestariyana Universitas Sebelas Maret, Indonesia



COVID-19, international students, narrative study, student emotion, virtual service learning


This article presents two Thai international students’ accounts of their lived experiences during a virtual service learning (community service) program due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Semi-structured interviews and participants’ reflection data were thematically analyzed through the lens of positive and negative emotions so as to explore participants’ perceptions of virtual service learning. Findings indicate that the pandemic situation was not a barrier to contributing positively to society. One of the positive effects of community service activities is that such activities could build students’ creativity. It was also found that despite bad internet connectivity in their respective areas, the final-year international students were able to adapt to both academic and non-academic environments. This indicates that all international students should maintain their positive feelings when completing their service-learning program.

Author Biographies

Sitti Nurfaidah, Institut Agama Islam Negeri Kendari, Indonesia

SITTI NURFAIDAH is a lecturer at Institut Agama Islam Negeri Kendari, Sulawesi Tenggara, Indonesia. Her major research interests lie in the areas of reflective practice, positive psychology in language learning and teaching, and feedback in L2 writing. Email:

Anna Riana Suryanti Tambunan, Universitas Negeri Medan, Indonesia

ANNA RIANA SURYANTI TAMBUNAN (corresponding author) is a lecturer at Universitas Negeri Medan. Her research interests include teaching English as a foreign language, online feedback on writing, and intercultural communication. Email:

Fadhila Yonata, Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam Negeri Sultan Abdurrahman, Indonesia

FADHILA YONATA is a lecturer at Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam Negeri Sultan Abdurrahman, Kepulauan Riau, Indonesia. His research interests lie in teaching English as a foreign language, textbook evaluation, and discourse studies. Email:

Dewi Kurniawati, Universitas Islam Neger, Indonesia

DEWI KURNIAWATI is an English language lecturer in the English Education Department of Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN), Raden Intan Lampung, Indonesia. Her areas of interest include language teaching methodology, technology in language teaching, and teacher professional development. Email:

Reni Puspitasari Dwi Lestariyana, Universitas Sebelas Maret, Indonesia

RENI PUSPITASARI DWI LESTARIYANA is a postgraduate student in the Department of English Education at Universitas Sebelas Maret based in Surakarta, Indonesia. Her publications appeared in the Journal of Asia TEFL, the Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, and Sexuality and Culture. Her research interests are in teaching English to young learners (TEYL), language textbook evaluation, teacher professional development, and technology-enhanced language learning (TELL). Email:


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How to Cite

Nurfaidah, S., Tambunan, A. R. S. ., Yonata, F., Kurniawati, D., & Lestariyana, R. P. D. (2020). International Students’ Perceptions of Virtual Service Learning Program Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of International Students, 10(S3), 198–208.