In 2020, the pandemic disrupted the plans of dozens of Indian students eager to pursue an international education. It was a gap year no one could have foreseen and which affected millions of students around the world. As countries closed their borders to contain the spread of Covid-19, it became clear that the study abroad experience would be drastically changed, to the point that foreign applicants preferred to postpone their admissions to the 2021 academic session. -2022. Without access to in-person learning or the cultural experience of a degree abroad, many questioned the value of enrolling in a course abroad.
CHANGE OF PLAN
“With vaccinations in full swing this year, international universities are looking to welcome Indian students safely and quickly. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (which manages the application process for UK universities) has noted a 30% increase in undergraduate university applications despite preventive travel restrictions, ”said Adarsh Khandelwal, co-founder of Collegify, an education consulting firm dealing with study abroad. . With the relaxation of eligibility requirements, such as an optional SAT (School Assessment Test) and multiple paths for English proficiency tests, more and more Indian applicants are confident in their chances of going to study. abroad.
Teaching on campus is also expected to resume to some extent this fall term, given the various quarantine and vaccination measures listed by universities for their students. “The volume of applications increased in 2021 due to test waivers, such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) and GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), by several leading universities and the launch of edition tests at home by the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), ”said Nikhil Jain, CEO of ForeignAdmits, a career and study abroad counseling platform.
More and more Indian students are eager to study abroad in a post-pandemic world. And the universities are trying to make it easier for them. “Many universities offer a hybrid plan or a flexible hybrid plan, like starting the course in India and finishing in another country,” says Brijesh Karia, COO, Singhania Education Services. “Many Indians take the route of higher education to enroll their children in a foreign university at any cost. Countries like Singapore which have large Indian family offices continue to attract young people for study abroad.
A SR BET?
What gives foreign universities the confidence to invite students is the emphasis on Covid vaccination and safety protocols around the world. “We have seen a huge increase in requests for Canada, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and some other countries. Australia is attracting fewer students, who are willing to postpone their admissions, ”Jain explains.
Measures taken by universities in countries like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Germany include social distancing in classrooms, improving the hybrid study mode and updating curricula in depending on the pandemic situation. This is done to attract students for learning on campus. Vaccination is compulsory to enter most countries. “Many Indian states have narrowed the gap between doses of Covishield (India’s only vaccine approved by the WHO for international travel) to 4 to 6 weeks for aspiring and foreign academic workers,” Khandelwal explains. Efforts are being made to allay the fears of students. “The Irish Embassy and its visa office in Delhi have created virtual information and educational resources for Indian students to explain the learning experience of the pandemic and provide a space for them to interact personally with visa officers, ”adds Khandelwal.
Colleges in the United States offer hybrid courses, fully online and on campus, but it is essential to verify the learning mode for the degree in question. According to Khandelwal, “A student visa could be refused if the learning mode is completely online. Students traveling to countries such as Singapore, Germany or the Netherlands will need to carry the official letter from their university stating that their mode of learning is not online. These countries will ask students to finance their own stay in quarantine, such as the UK where India is on the red list. However, some UK universities are prepared to reimburse the quarantine costs; it is important to contact the institution and the visa office to receive updates on the situation.
Many students are unsure whether to opt for an online education mode abroad or postpone plans for a year. “Our advice is that while online education at international universities adds value in terms of international exposure, given the scenario where some universities require students to study online for one year, the cost is not justified. Students should look for courses that can be online for, say, the first three months, and then continue with a model on campus to avoid wasting time in India, ”says Karia.
Dos and don’ts
It is also important to plan well for studying abroad to get the most out of your investment. “From time to time check the visa criteria and immigration rules for your target destination as well as the quarantine status for international students and vaccines mentioned as acceptable.” You can get vaccinated according to the requirements of the target country, ”explains Jain.
Students should verify fee reduction, if any, tuition fee payment methods, and other eligibility criteria. Many universities have removed the need for GRE / GMAT or SAT. Students should be clear about what they want. But overall, the on-campus experience should be the priority. “Students should have a long-term plan for the country they want to go to and the type of course they want to take, as some courses lose importance and others, like in health, gain. from the field, ”explains Karia.