Kaiyun: finding comfort in chats and cooking during COVID-19

Our Wellbeing People of Adelaide

Meet Kaiyun - Master of Teaching (Secondary) student, University of Adelaide

It’s been a long road to Adelaide from Guangzhou, China for Kaiyun Liao. The 24-year-old came here in 2019 from Melbourne where she’d first arrived in Australia to study a bachelor’s degree.

“The most significant reason for my move was I felt like Adelaide was similar to my hometown” said Kaiyun.

“Adelaide is such a beautiful and peaceful city and the weather and people here are very nice. The best thing I like about city living is I can jog along the River Torrens every day. There are quite a few friendly runners there who motivate me to work out frequently.”

Being near to the university inspires Kaiyun to study and she loves that her city-based accommodation at dwell East End Adelaide meets her social and retail needs with Rundle Mall, restaurants, supermarkets, and shopping all close by.

Before COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing were in place, Kaiyun usually hung out with friends once or twice per week.

"We mostly spent time together at restaurants and sometimes we’d go hiking. During the restrictions we managed to stay in touch by calls and video chats. We also cooked together and watched movies when we were able.”

Kaiyun on riverbank 5


Kaiyun is in her second year living at dwell student accommodation.

“Not only is it a perfect location but the staff make me feel like I’m home. I’ll never forget how sweet they were when I got sick and they took care of me until the ambulance arrived. The rooftop view is amazing without a doubt and I’ve spent a lot of good times up there at the resident events. I’ve met people from different backgrounds and have made lifetime good friends there. dwell has also prepared free food once per week on average and funny games with prizes which saves my money.”

Kaiyun and ken on dwell rootop

Kaiyun with fellow resident Ken on the dwell rooftop.

As the COVID-19 pandemic started to reach Adelaide and behaviours like stockpiling toilet paper began to emerge, Kaiyun realised how crucial communications is in our lives.

“My friends comforted me and told me it was not necessary to panic buy and helped me to relax and stay calm.”

Many have enjoyed the slower pace and limited activities that the last few months has resulted in for some people, and Kaiyun is among them.

“I’ve found the COVID-19 restrictions a good time for me to catch up and start to do all the things that I haven’t had time to do before, like learning additional languages and organising study resources. The university has offered a lot of help during the period, such as the writing centre and Studiosity.”
Kaiyun, international student

Keeping in touch with personal networks online is a usual activity for international students, but Kaiyun admits she’s really lent on her family for support over the last few months – connecting with them daily via video chat.

Family talks and going for a daily walk or run along the River Torrens have been key to Kaiyun’s health and wellbeing through this difficult period, and she looks forward to being able to get back to all her favourite city activities as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“Once restrictions are fully lifted, I’m looking forward to being able to do sports freely again. As we know, under the restrictions, gyms, fitness classes have been cancelled and swimming pools closed. Being a big sports fan, especially swimming, I look forward to going swimming every day.”

Read more student stories about COVID-19 on the StudyAdelaide website.

Article by

Esme Barratt

Esme Barratt

Esme loves Adelaide - especially the city's open space, walkability, artwork, beauty and how much you can access for free - all of which leads to great wellbeing. With a passion for the Park Lands and a zeal for all things community, she can't wait to share the wonders of our open and friendly city, so you can love it too.