Pandemic V/S Study Abroad
Studying abroad is more than just education, it is a holistic experience. Earning an international degree is not only expanding your career and personal horizons but also having the experience of a lifetime. But due to COVID-19 Pandemic, many Indian students are now unsure of their study abroad plans.
It is scary enough to think about the prospect of studying abroad when there is a turbulent pandemic to think about. Will you be safe? How will you be able to manage in COVID-19 pandemic? How will you get to experience overseas when you don’t have any acquaintance? So many questions have been chuckling up your mind during the boisterous year of restrictions and isolation.
It would not be surprising to say that students are having hard times distinguishing the impact of higher education abroad. The pandemic has affected more than half of the aspirants and there is no doubt that the movement of the aspirants has been tremendously affected. Many universities have decided to call off all mass lectures for the upcoming academic session, limit the number of seats for the aspirants and introduce online learning and assessments. Some of the universities including Oxford and Cambridge have informed the students that they will start the academic session after following public health norms.
The toughest part in the midst of this entire thing is to understand how a study abroad aspirant should address the problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few tips to address the problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic:
Stick to your plan: There is no other way to forecast that when this pandemic will come to an end, but one should always stick to his current plan of action. One should not lose a year but rather start attending his classes online in the beginning and late be allowed to take classes in campus.
Explore Universities with great COVID-19 response: Almost every university across the globe has adopted measures to accommodate these exceptional conditions. The measures may differ from country to country and every university is opting for a slightly different approach. Moreover, many universities have even reduced their tuition fees in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Focus on Preparation: Although the students restricted to their homes, it is the best time for them to prepare for entrance tests accepted by the various foreign universities. All exam conducting bodies such as the College Board, Graduate Management Admission Council, etc. have introduced online exams to allow students to take tests like GMAT, SAT, ACT etc. from the comfort of their homes.
RESPONSE OF FOREIGN UNIVERSITIES
Many universities and colleges are admitting study abroad students who do not have GRE / GMAT scores under the new admission criteria.
The fee structure at various universities is reduced. Many universities are allowing more international students to opt for higher education abroad despite COVID-19. Australia is one of the countries that is offering fee-waivers and financial support to aspirants seeking admission to institutions in the country.
Along with counselling, scholarships and special concessions for international students, several universities in the UK are accepting online copies of degree certificates as producing the original copies could be a difficult task now.
Some universities are restructuring their course curricula and exploring ways to offer courses in a blended format and ensure smooth conduct of education.
Alternatives to traditional teaching such as pre-recorded lectures, video calls, online assignments, online and open book exams are being adopted.
Universities in the USA are focusing more on providing an online learning environment that is on par with in-class learning. A number of USA universities are pushing towards helping study abroad aspirants through employer workshops, career services, recruitment events, virtual networking events and so on.
Keeping in mind the travel restrictions due to the pandemic, universities have started offering virtual tours to students and their parents. They are also told about facilities, the admission requirements, the different academic programmes, how they would start the application process amid the COVID-19 crisis, and henceforth.
DESPITE COVID-19, WHY STUDY ABROAD?
Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, many Indian students are now unsure of their study abroad plans. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, here are a few reasons why studying abroad is still one of the best options for higher education:
Career prospects: It is a known fact that graduates from foreign universities have a better scope of getting a job in any given field. In the worst-case scenario, the global crisis may affect job possibilities and emigration pathways right now but it will come back to normal in the future. Employers are always more likely to look very highly at study abroad experiences.
Value of education: Let us not forget the value that studying in a foreign country will add to your profile. Studying overseas involves a completely new way of learning. By enrolling in a study abroad program, students are exposed to a whole new curriculum that is entirely different from that in the home country.
Life Experience: Be it an online or an offline programme, graduating from a foreign university tends to change a student’s life forever. It includes great academic learning and incomparable personal development and maybe travelling in the near future. One of the major benefits of studying abroad is to be able to discover oneself and gain an understanding of a totally different lifestyle.
Multiple Course Options: Not studying in your home country offers you myriad course options to choose from. The programs at foreign universities will expand your horizons and let you take up different courses at the same time and also provide you with skill-based training.
Global Perspective: Studying abroad helps you be more comfortable with different cultures and people from different backgrounds. Being able to think from a global perspective will help you deal with modern and more complex problems in the real world. Your experience with a totally new culture will enable you to make decisions more openly and inclusively.