Not just a single but every other student in India dreams of travelling abroad for higher education. The primary reason for many Indian students migrating to different countries is the fact that the number of students competing for admissions to Indian Universities is increasing at a fast rate.
The other factors that cause students to explore study abroad options include higher cut-offs by top Indian universities and that there are specific courses that provide excellent learning and exposure to students in countries other than that in India.
With many students failing to meet the merit requirements laid by top Indian universities, they are left with no other option than to move to a country of their choice to pursue the career of their dream. Every year a sizeable number of student appear for GMAT and GRE in postgraduate level studies in B-schools and others.
As per the statistics revealed by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the number of Indian students migrating abroad in the year 2019 was 753,000, and the number was only expected to show an upward trend in the year 2020.
The soaring number of students travelling to different countries, as mentioned earlier, is because the average age of the Indian population is 25 years, and the majority of them are passing their high school exams with top grades. On the other hand, the enrollment capacity of top national, as well as global schools, have started reaching its peak.
The primary factor of deciding the study destination among students is not just their liking towards it but also the affordability and employment potential of these countries. The other reason is the lack of parallel courses offered in India. Here is a list of 20 Global Universities that accept GRE scores for admission.
Most of the students end up selecting destinations that have a student-friendly environment, thinner population, and more employment opportunities and also because India has a challenging work environment.
The COVID-19 Impact
Just, as usual, many students were planning to move to the country of their choice to pursue their dream career. Most of the students had already received their appointment letters. But everything has come to a halt since the COVID-19 outbreak that has shaken the entire world.
The global pandemic that first showed up in Wuhan, China, has spread to almost every nook and corner of the world and has put all the countries in a state of lockdown. Nearly every country in the world has gone in isolation and social-distancing as this is the best way to prevent this contagious disease from spreading.
With the outbreak of this global pandemic, most of the countries have sealed their borders and have imposed restrictions on foreign travels. This has left the students in a state of dilemma as to what should be their next step.
Many Indian students had already applied for upcoming sessions that were to begin from September 2020 and were waiting for their visas. The outbreak of COVID-19 has put a halt already on the visa processes and paralyzed the education system leaving students with no other option but to start taking online classes.
How bad it feels when a dream you had waited for years to come true shatters in a blink of an eye! Devastating, confusing, and leaving hopeless in most of the cases. This is what the students, waiting for their sessions to start in their dream foreign universities are going through right now.
Some Stories the Fall Prey of COVID-19 Pandemic
Here are some stories of students on how COVID-19 has shattered their dreams of studying abroad and has left them in a state of confusion.
Tirupati Luthra, a 21-year-old student, couldn’t control her happiness when she received her acceptance letter from Australia’s Deakin University. She had plans to study Masters in Architecture at Deakin University and was supposed to leave soon for Australia once her undergraduate degree exams were over.
She had planned to leave earlier from India before her classes began so that she could get accustomed to the place and explore internship opportunities in the meanwhile. Also, she hadn’t applied for any Indian college. With the outbreak of COVID-19, she is now trapped in her home just like everyone else and is waiting for conditions to normalize soon.
She also feels that the chances of getting an internship or an employment opportunity in India are distant due to the economic slowdown prevailing in the country.
Tara Osan had plans to study Advertising either in Canada or Italy. A Shri Ram School pass-out, Tara had planned for studying abroad for a long time back.
Being a brilliant student, she had received offer letters from multiple colleges. Owing to the outbreak of the global pandemic, she believes it’s the time for her to look for Plan B.
She says that the current situation has left her feeling de-motivated. Her class 12th exams are also suspended, and the students will now be promoted on an internal assessment basis.
She feels that it does not seems possible to travel abroad for studies this year and that now is the time to look for an alternative plan.
Anoushka Roy had plans of travelling to New York for her sessions beginning in September 2020. The current situation prevailing in the world due to coronavirus outbreak has left us feeling unmotivated.
However, she has no plans of cancelling her travel. Anoushka wanted to study Liberal Arts in New York but is now waiting for things to get normal.
According to Anoushka, planning to study abroad is a long and tiring process wherein a student invests a lot of time and money. Since she has already invested a lot both financially and mentally to make her study abroad plan, she is in no mood to cancel it.
When asked what her next step will be, Anoushka said: “I will go for the next session, but I will go.” Currently, she is checking with her university in New York to find out if they can consider her admission for the next session.
Not just these students, but those who already got admission and are stranded in a foreign country are in a state of dilemma about what is to come next.
Rashi Makhija, a student at the University of Liverpool, is pursuing a master’s degree, which is just a year-long program. The course has been shifted from classroom classes to online classes following the social distancing and isolation rule due to COVID-19.
According to her, digital learning is the need of the hour but kills the entire purpose of studying in a foreign country. Just like many other students, Rashi, too, has taken a student loan and is paying a hefty fee for her course.
Currently, just like many other students stranded in different countries, she feels financial as well as mental pressure. Even after the completion of the course, there are no chances of landing up into a job soon due to the global economic crisis.
Not only Rashi but many other students are confused regarding their future and are forced to make a Plan B of action for them, which again is subject to further uncertainties that might take place.
The majority of the students feels the uncertainty of the time but are not thinking of instantly cancelling their travel and study abroad plans.
What are Education Counsellors and Experts Saying?
According to many Study Abroad Counselors, the current situation is not only tough but might affect the long term plans of many students looking ahead to study abroad in their dream countries/universities. See the top 20 Institutes that count on GMAT scores for MBA courses.
Experts say that there are already many students who received admission letters from different foreign universities but are now forced to reconsider their plan as the classes have moved to digital learning through online classes.
It is not a feasible option to opt at this time for a foreign university, especially for students who wanted to experience living abroad as they still need to pay a hefty fee for their courses just to attend online classes. This overall makes the option less lucrative for students wanting to live and study abroad.
Apart from this, interviews and announcements for various fellowship opportunities have also been put on hold, keeping into account the uncertainty. This has altogether put a halt of funding help for students planning to study abroad again, forcing them to give up their dreams.
Travel and Visa Restrictions are Making Things Worse
Almost every country in the world has been hit and is affected by the contagious coronavirus. To further prevent this contagious diseases, many countries have sealed their borders.
- Most of the nations across the globe have implemented.
- Restrictions on entry and exit of nationals and foreigners,
- There are restrictions on issuance on visas and work permits,
- Closed the airports
- Suspended all incoming and outgoing flights
- Borders of countries are sealed, and
- Quarantine rules have been tightened for the safety of the people residing in a particular country.
United States’ State Department recently issued a Level 4 “do not travel’ advisory, which is the highest level of travel advisory that can be issued by a federal agency. This step was taken to prevent the United States’ citizens from undertaking any global travel.
The European Union also issued a 30-days ban on nonessential travels to around 26 European countries from the rest of the world. Again, this step was taken by the authorities to slow down the spread of COVID-19 within the country.
Roundabout 93% of the entire global population is now living in countries that are affected with coronavirus and are undergoing travel restriction of account of the global pandemic.
Talking about specific countries, Canada has imposed an advisory where all travellers flying into the country will have to undergo a health checkup before boarding their respective flights.
Foreign nationals except for those who are flying to Canada for essential purposes are barred from entering the country. Only health care workers are allowed to move to and from the country for the safety of the nationals residing in Canada.
India too has banned all incoming passenger traffic except for that of essential goods and services by land, air, and sea. The Indian Bureau of Immigration released the data.
Talking about Australia, only Australian citizens, residents, their immediate family members, and citizens who normally reside in Australia are permitted to enter the premises. All these people must undergo a 14-days quarantine at a nearby hotel or facility designated by the government for this purpose.
With so many visa and travel restrictions in place in every other country in the world, it has become difficult for students dreaming to travel abroad to make a plan.
The condition is getting more and more challenging with every passing day, and no one has an idea as to when things will get normal.
The only option left with the students is to look for an alternative plan for them even if the virus wipes out from the world the countries will still take necessary precautions to prevent reoccurrence of new patients.
For Indians who are already residing in foreign countries, the government is talking with authorities to extend visas of Indian students and professionals stranded in different foreign countries. However, no new visas are being issued at the time to prevent foreign travels.
This visa and travel restriction has, in turn, left the students confused as to what should be their next step. Students have already applied for education loans and are now in a state of mental and financial pressure.
What makes the situation more difficult is the fact that they are not sure as to when the things in India and around the globe will get back to normal.
The government, however, is taking every necessary step for helping the students and professionals, but the exact situation will only be known once the things are under control.
Till then, students should stay positive and hope for the best. They should start exploring other opportunities not only abroad but in India as well so that they have a plan B provided things get worst than expected.
How Chevening is a Ray of Hope for Students Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak?
Chevening is a prestigious international awards program that is run by the UK government and has so far helped approximately 50,000 professionals to study in the UK since 1983. Chevening is ensuring that the plans remain unaffected during this challenging time for the sake of a number of students and professionals planning to move abroad.
Authorities looking after the Chevening process admit to understanding the fact that many countries currently are in different stages of lockdown to fight coronavirus outbreak.
However, the application processes are still in place, and authorities are working hard enough to reduce the disruptions in the interview. This is done by conducting the interviews through telephone or online, ensuring that the interview still takes place.
COVID 19 has spread its foot in every country around the world, creating an environment of turmoil and uncertainty. All the activities, including sporting, education, businesses, travels, events, and even spiritual gatherings, are put on hold. This is done by the authorities to prevent community transmission of the deadly disease.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has left everyone, including the students, in a state of confusion and stress. Many students had plans of travelling to different countries to pursue the career of their choices and to create a prosperous future for them.
With the outbreak of this pandemic, students are left with no other option but to wait for things to get normal and in favour of foreign travels. Though the time is tight and challenging, students have to remain positive and should not give in to the pressure. By keeping the travel restrictions in mind, it is advisable to look for an alternative plan for themselves and explore opportunities within the country.