How is COVID- 19 affecting students plan to study abroad

Khevna.P.Shah, INN/Bangalore

@Shahkhevna1, @Infodeaofficial

It is a dream for many students to study abroad for various prospects. But because of the Covid pandemic, these dreams seemed to have crashed and moreover, the countries have restricted the entries of the students.

Students choose to study abroad for various reasons which transcend the world-class learning at top institutions. And one such reason is the ample cultural and global exposure that increases the chances of working and settling abroad. However, with the continuous efforts of the government and institutions, there are updates as well as relaxations that are helping students to fulfill their dream despite the grave crisis.

There are several ways how the  institutions are helping students to achieve their international education plans:

Welcoming the international students

The current situation has left many students confused about their educational plans. But on a positive note countries like the UK, Canada, Ireland, and the U.S have opened their borders with certain guidelines.

The International students should carry a Covid-19 negative certificate while traveling to any of these countries and quarantine themselves for a specific period before joining their campus.

Due to numerous lockdowns in various cities in India, the Visa Application Centre’s operations have also been impacted, causing delays in the visa approval process for various students.  And because of this various universities have allowed their students to register and start their classes online without a visa until the situation is back to normal.

Admission relaxations

The various areas have been affected by the second wave of the pandemic, resulting in many institutions extending their application deadlines while other institutions have provided relaxation, allowing students to begin their course without wasting time.

For instance, several US universities have started accepting the application for undergraduate/bachelor courses based on marks obtained in 9th, 10th, 11th grade and the pre- board’s score of 12th grade.

Since many students could not travel to their destinations, it has become difficult for applicants to get approval in time. Because of this conflict, the Canadian institution and government have also allowed international students to begin their studies online until their study permit application can be approved and they can travel to attend on-campus classes.

Safety and Health

This pandemic has raised concerns among the students about their health and their medical expenses. Because exposing oneself to a new environment especially at this given point in time is risky. To resolve this issue of health concerns among international students, many universities have come up with a plan in place of providing vaccinations to their students on campus.

And more importantly, many universities are acknowledging the need for mental health support. Several institutions have established mental health support centers focusing on international students as they may need extra care when they settle in a different environment.

When arriving at their destination, international students are required to submit their Covid-19 negative report to the respective authorities and undertake a precautionary self-quarantine for a specific period before joining the campus.

To help students go through this process smoothly, most institutions are also offering airport pick-up discounts on flight tickets, well-managed self-quarantine facilities, food, and other necessary provisions.

Remote learning

Keeping up with the need of the hour, many institutions are also offering a hybrid model of learning where students can take a part of their course online and rest when the international travel restrictions get lifted.

Universities have set up digital libraries, made faculties and other resources more accessible, and created active peer groups to sustain connections and build a nurturing and healthy virtual learning environment for students. The institutions have been doing whatever they can to ensure the undisrupted flow of education for students and provide them with quality learning.

Applying to institution

Many students want to continue with their study abroad plan but are still in a dilemma But, according to various institutional organizations, it is one of the best times to apply to an international institution, as many universities have introduced scholarships and waivers for international students.

For instance, most of the US universities have waived off application fees and removed the GRE/ GMAT requirements for  SAT/ACT and masters for undergraduate degrees.

Apart from that, various UK institutions have also introduced additional scholarships. Besides, the universities are also exploring multiple ways to ensure a smooth flow of education. While various institutions are offering provisional admissions with online copies of documents like degrees and certificates, others are reconstructing their syllabus and exploring ways to offer courses in a unique yet effective format.

There is no assurance that the pandemic will get over anytime in the near future but that doesn’t mean that one should stop pursuing their dream and career.  And the fact that it is on the online mode, gives the students ample amount of time to discover their fields of intreats. So it is essential to keep your spirits, keep believing in your dreams,  and never stop growing ahead in life!

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