International students and COVID-19, what will happen to studying abroad? Can the pandemic change the way we study?
Going abroad to study isn’t just about the certificate given out on graduation day. It’s about the whole experience of living away from family, meeting peers from other parts of the world and the campus experience.
For students on the cusp of setting out for higher education abroad, the COVID-19 outbreak has brought time to a standstill. Many of those who received their acceptance letters don’t know whether they will be able to attend the classes they applied for or whether they should apply to a local college.
What’s Happening In Educational Institutions Around The World?
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are already being felt around the world. Some of the effects already being seen include:
Face-to-face teaching has been stopped in many universities. All in-campus activities, like lectures, workshops, etc. have been suspended. Instead of coming to class, students now log on for video classes. Similarly, assignments and projects are also now being submitted online through email.
As a result of countries under lockdown, many universities have postponed the start of the summer semester. Instead of starting in the beginning of April 2021, they may now start in May 2021 depending on where they are located.
In many cases, exams have been delayed. In others, they are being conducted in different formats. Similarly, thesis defenses have also been postponed. This could, in turn. Delay graduation and the awarding of degrees.
Restrictions On Immigration
Many countries are restricting the entry of immigrants at their borders. Only their citizens and permanent residents are being allowed to enter. The effect of this on potential foreign students is not yet clear.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not just affecting teachers and students, it has also affected the administrative staff. As a result, many colleges are changing their admission processes.
Application deadlines have been extended, admission eligibilities have been changed to account for students who have been unable to receive their high school degrees and diplomas.
Options Available For International Students
There are 3 options most students are considering.
1. Take A Gap Year
Safety and uncertainty are major concerns for international students. Not knowing when their courses may start has made many students consider the possibility of taking a gap year.
2. Pursue The Course Online
Since classes are not being held on-campus, students can pursue their courses online through video classes. While this means a lack of on-campus activities, it gives students a chance to stay aligned to their scholastic path as far as possible.
3. Wait And Watch
The third alternative for International students is to do nothing at the moment and adopt a wait and watch the process. Students are giving themselves time until the end of April to take a decision on what to do next.
The Financial Angle
Studying abroad is expensive. There’s the cost of tuition fees , travel, accommodation, food and plenty more. This pandemic is affecting all sectors of the economy and many parents might find themselves having to tighten their budgets.
With their own earning capacity being affected, a parent may have to reconsider sending their children abroad.
For international students, at this critical juncture, it is important to be flexible about the way they approach their future. The best thing to do at the moment would be to stay in close touch with the university they’ve wanted to apply to or been accepted at and stay updated with news regarding the international study.
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Useful COVID-19 Links
- COVID 19 Helpline Numbers By Indian Ministry Of External Affairs (MEA)
- COVID 19 Home Quarantine Guidelines
- COVID-19 Testing Centers In India And State-Wise Helpline Numbers