What’s in store for an international student in times of COVID-19

How the Covid pandemic may shape the future of studying abroad

To attain cultural, academic, and social growth, so many students all over the world choose to study abroad. By doing so, they get to explore the world, experience new cultures, earn wider knowledge, and build skills that make them ready to work confidently.

Study abroad was one of the most popular and thriving reasons for migration all over the world till the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The overseas education scene has been greatly affected by the pandemic and world educational destinations have been forced to cope with an unprecedented challenge in hard times.

Overseas education today has been, since 2020, reimagined with the modes and methods adopted also realigned with the realities and restrictions COVID-19 has given rise to.

The educational plans of every international student have been drastically hit the pandemic. They are not sure of how to chart their course in the pursuit of overseas education. But thankfully, educational institutions around the world have changed and restructured their functional policies and admission procedures. Now, they have made it possible for every international student to go about their studies abroad by enrolling in universities and colleges abroad.

The emergence of a new approach to overseas education

Universities and colleges around the world at famous educational destinations have formulated policies for admission and learning to be as possible as it should be for an international student. An example can be seen in how they are offering a hybrid learning model to students. This is made available to the students if they just present their proof of visa application.

Countries like Canada, known as one of the world’s best academic destinations, are allowing students to take advantage of the hybrid system. Students can do a significant part of their courses online. They can then carry on with the rest of the course on campus once the country opens its borders.

World countries, through their institutions, are providing classes synchronously and asynchronously. In simpler words, it means live and recorded classes respectively.

Students will get to choose a time slot to study according to their time zone and preference. They can hence study comfortably, and even communicate with their teachers for clearing their queries, just like they could in on-campus studies.

The impact of COVID-19 on exams

The second wave of COVID-19 caused delays in exams which impacted the application process for an international student trying to join international institutions. The postponements that followed also made many institutions extend their deadlines for admissions.

Universities in the USA made the decision to roll out offers to international students by waiving the submission of their mark sheets of the last semester. They also let go of the strict requirement of standardized tests viz. GRE and GMAT. These test scores were waived off for students joining master’s courses. Similar treatment was done in the case of SAT/ACT for undergraduate courses.

More challenges

VACs (Visa Application Centres) also got impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There were rampant delays in the approval of visas for international students. Due to this, lots of institutions in Canada have permitted students to resume classes on-campus in the middle of the semester. This can be done as soon as they get their visas and international flights get resumed.

Right now, this relaxation is given for courses that need learning on-campus. Many institutions in the UK are also allowing an extended time for students for the collection of the BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) card. It’s the evidence in a document of the permission for immigration in the UK. It’s issued by the Home Office.

To improve safety and convenience to travel for students, most institutions are offering support measures like airport pick up, self-quarantine facilities that are well-managed, discounted flight tickets, food, etc.

Many universities are even organizing vaccination drives for every international student joining them. Such facilities have been implemented since countries like the US, the UK, and Ireland has made announcements that they would be open to receiving international students for the next session.

Another step taken by institutions in countries like the USA, Australia, the UK, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand is the revision of their fee structures. They have even added more waivers, scholarships, and bursaries to their current list of offers.

Many institutions are also allowing students to choose to defer their course to the course intake that’s coming next. This won’t invite any financial repercussions in case they aren’t ready to attend online sessions because of which they may wish to postpone their plans to study.

Besides this, many types of aids and relaxations are offered to students so that they can make plans for their future. This will enable them to make the right decision making no compromise to their learning plan.

Finding positivity in these hard times

It must be interesting to you that this may be the aptest time for students to realize their dream of studying abroad. As the governments and educational institutions are giving so much relaxation, students could complete their overseas education by increased savings at hand in their budget.

Also, there are already positive signs visible in top educational destinations of the world. These could soon help students realize their wish to participate in the classes on-campus.

It’s hence advised that they should begin their process of application right away. Thus, they can be ready to set sails to their dream destination when the opportunity presents itself. An international student can always contact an international education specialist for guidance or clarity.

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