As the world tries to get back to normal after nearly two years of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, educators are hoping to not only make up for lost time but also make the experience safer and more pleasant.
When the pandemic struck, educational institutions all across the world closed their doors to actual classes, leaving students to rely on online instruction. While some students benefited from the extra sleep by not having to commute to and from college, others missed out on the vital and once-in-a-lifetime campus experience.
The students who were most disappointed with their campus experience were those who hoped to study abroad for a semester or a course. However, as a result of the relaxation of travel restrictions imposed by Covid-19 in various countries, universities are preparing to welcome back their international students.
The majority of universities in the United Kingdom (UK) and Northern Ireland, including the University of Manchester (UoM) and the University of Sussex, now accept Indian students without requiring them to undergo quarantine upon arrival.
While the majority of institutions throughout the world are now following their governments’ immunisation standards, authorities are putting in place all necessary steps to assist students in the process. Vaccine Verification Clinics, for example, have been held at the University of Sussex throughout term time to assist students in checking their immunisation status and obtaining their NHS COVID Pass.
Countries like the United Kingdom, Israel, and a few other European countries have also made it possible for residents to enter less congested public venues without wearing a face mask. Although wearing a face mask in public areas is suggested, there is no restriction or penalty for doing so. This enables students to get pre-Covid experience in several nations that accept Indian students.
Some universities, such as IE University in Spain, have come up with a novel concept in which students attend physical classrooms but can ask their remaining/unanswered questions using online and video means.
Focus on mental health
While relocating to an unfamiliar nation in the middle of a global epidemic, some colleges are going above and beyond to ensure that students feel welcomed, protected, and emotionally strong. The University of Manchester has set up peer-to-peer buddying and support programmes, including ‘Check-In and Chat’ group support video conferences organised by UoM professionals allowing students to talk about how they were feeling, ask questions, and exchange experiences with peers.
Educational institutions in Israel, which is becoming a popular destination for Indian students interested in medicine and science-related disciplines, are focused on providing greater mental health support to Indian students. The majority of higher education institutions have support mechanisms in place to help students navigate this issue.
Many institutions and education counsellors have noticed that Indian students prefer on-campus classes to online classes. “Indian students prefer a full campus experience; they enjoy the face-to-face part of our teaching and want to spend physical time in our labs and libraries,” said Sandeep Sharma, University of Essex’s Regional Information Officer for South Asia. “Moreover, the Graduate Route now offered by the UK Government is a crucial motivator for Indian students to apply for our courses who want to continue on to work in the UK when they finish their studies.” This is not available for distance learning programmes that are conducted remotely or online.”
Yocket, an international education consulting business, validated the same claim. “There hasn’t been a drop in demand.” We saw very little mobility in the Fall of 2020 due to travel being closed, but as soon as those reopened, students were ready to begin their course. Due to pent-up demand and rising curiosity, demand in 2021 was particularly high. “We’ve witnessed a massive surge in queries on our platform,” said Yocket Founder Sumeet Jain.
One explanation for this is that many international colleges have chosen a flexible strategy. “Since the pandemic, many foreign colleges have grown more lenient in terms of the exams that international students must take in order to be admitted. For example, for the next intakes, most US colleges have abolished the necessity of a SAT score when applying for admission. Many colleges throughout the world are now accepting the results of an online English test (Duolingo or TOEFL home edition) in lieu of a standardised English test,” says Parul Mittal, Director, International Placewell Consultants Pvt Ltd.
Who was the first to rise, and who was the first to fall?
According to specialists, demand surged in 2021 in countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, Israel, Canada, and a few others since these countries were conveniently accessible and tried to modify the Covid-19 related requirements as much as possible. Despite the fact that direct flights to Canada were tough to come by, the rest of the entrance and quarantine process made it a popular alternative for Indian students.
However, because to the pandemic’s border restriction, countries like New Zealand and Australia noticed a drop in demand. New Zealand and Australia were once attractive destinations for Indian students, particularly those interested in management programmes. During the pandemic, however, demand plummeted dramatically.
“Countries like Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand have seen a significant drop in their student populations. This is partly due to the fact that all of these countries have closed their borders to overseas students,” Parul Mittal claims.
“The students were given the option of doing their studies online, but most of them were not interested because other nations, such as the United Kingdom, were open and hospitable to overseas students.” In March 2021, the number of international students in Australia has decreased by 99 percent. Prior to the Covid epidemic, Australia accounted for 20% of the demand from Indian students. “However, by October 2021, it had dropped to 9%,” she continued.
Students and counsellors are eager to return to Australian universities now that Australia’s borders have been reopened. “In 2020, I had planned to enrol at the University of Sydney.” I applied, but by the time I received confirmation, the pandemic had struck, and I had no choice but to cancel my plans. While the institution has graciously allowed me to reapply, I am concerned because I only want to take classes on campus. “Now that the borders are reopened, I can finally realise my dream,” says Pooja Gupta*, a Gurugram resident.Want to get any information about Study abroad? please visit www.collzy.com