All students who have a dream of going abroad to pursue higher education this year, have the following questions on their minds irrespective of the course and country of their choice because of the global spread of the pandemic in the world.
- Will I be able to go this year on time and complete my degree as per schedule?
- Should I take online courses and go abroad later for studying on-campus?
- Should I postpone my plan and make alternate arrangements for this intermediate period?
- Do I have alternatives for this present scenario and what would that be?
The following article hopes to resolve some of these queries in the next few paragraphs. Let us discuss these questions one by one.
First of all, it is still early to determine the future and how the world will evolve moving forward. Currently, the whole world is under lockdown and right now international travel is beyond reach, even inter-city travel is restricted in almost all countries. Unless COVID-19 comes under control everywhere or a cure is developed, the situation does look bleak. It is not in our control but we can still plan our future in either scenario where COVID-19 doesn’t affect your decision. For most countries, students are allowed to enroll and take online lectures for the coming semester. They can continue their studies in the foreign university on-campus in the second semester without affecting the Post Study Work Visa (PSWV) in almost all the countries. This means that you can complete your degree on time and it does not matter whether you will be able to go pursue your degree on-campus right away or not.
When one looks at the option of online courses, they wonder whether there is any negative impact in this aspect and what would that be. As mentioned earlier, PSWV doesn’t get affected but your chances of doing a full-time internship during the studies might be affected. For example, the United States is one such country where a student cannot do an internship until two semesters are completed on-campus. This means studying the first semester online will hamper the chances of an international student to pursue a summer internship after the completion of the second semester. There are other countries like Canada and Australia where studying online for one semester doesn’t have any negative aspects. Another plus point of enrolling in online courses is that one can work simultaneously within the home country. This will help you gain work experience even while you are studying.
Many academic institutions all over the world are making contingency plans for current as well as prospective students in case the lockdown continues for an extended period. Many institutions are already preparing themselves to deliver online lectures for the coming semester and have provided this option to international students who may not be able to get their VISA on time and reach before the start of lectures. Though the institutions have done it for their current students on a short term basis, they are trying to improve its quality to bring it on par with face-to-face teaching. While others are playing the waiting game before providing suitable options as no one has clarity about what the future has in store.
The next option given by many universities to its students is the option of deferring their admission to the next intake. It would mean either Spring or Fall for the USA, Summer or Winter for Europe and Feb or July for Australia and NZ. This would depend on the university finalized by the student. The questions that need to be answered are whether the university is giving the option of deferral, has it mentioned a deadline to choose, does the student have a choice between the intakes and which intake would be better. Some countries don’t have any difference between intakes and it won’t matter if the student defers. In this scenario, the positive thing would be that all lectures will be on-campus provided the pandemic is under control by then.
In the case of deferral, this intermediate period can be used by working professionals to continue with their work experience. Graduating students can use this period to do a related internship or specific courses and certifications which will be useful for their higher education program. The fact that everyone needs to realize is that the whole world is facing this COVID-19 pandemic and it might take some time for everything to get back to normal. This is not an eternal crisis and things will eventually settle in couple of months. But one can utilize this time as well fruitfully. If in case, you are a student looking to study abroad in the coming intakes and have further concerns about it, please get in touch with us so that we dispel your fears.
Sr. Counselor and Trainer
Imperial Overseas Educational Consultants