Will overseas education lose its appeal for aspiring students?

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the school closures in the wake of COVID-19 have disrupted the education of at least 290.5 million students worldwide. Out of such a large figure, 10 million students study internationally. So what will be the status of existing and aspiring international students after this pandemic? The only thing sure is that things won’t be that normal and smooth anymore. Concerns about whether you need to change your study plans are understandable. So, focus on the changes as they would probably consist of the ‘new normal’ when it will come to educational revolutions after the pandemic.

This pandemic may either induce the universities to postpone the September intake, or the students won’t hesitate to join these universities in January intake by which the situation may normalise. There may be some complications in doing so, but there aren’t many options available to both universities and students. Students who are already studying abroad and are back home during the pandemic may find the new travelling restrictions problematic.

There is a vast difference between studying abroad physically and taking online classes from a foreign university. Dismissal of in-person teaching has what induced such students to give a second thought to their dreams of studying abroad. Despite paying a lot more than average fees, students won’t be too impressed with attending online classes. A lot of universities provide online degrees, which doesn’t cost ten percent of the total fees students pay for the on-campus study. Students hold dreams of attending universities in-person and after the pandemic and the global disruption of movement, immigration, etc, will hinder the fulfillment of their aspirations.

Most international students work alongside their studies to get a complimentary amount, which also incentivises them to study abroad. However, the dismissive economy won’t allow them to get jobs with such ease, which may restrict almost 30% of students to study overseas. The number of scholarships will reduce and hence will pose a threat to students who depend on financial aid for their education.

If the talks of COVID-19 turning into an endemic are to be believed, the public ought to learn to survive with this virus existing around. There are possibilities that the students may opt for the next best alternative and flip-flop their learning destinations. Aspirants that previously preferred Spain — a popular destination for medical programs among aspirants are now choosing other options like the Caribbean Islands that offer the same course at the same fees. Similarly, students of streams like physical education may prefer Australia over Spain, as a safety measure.

There isn’t any doubt that the situation isn’t going to normalise shortly. Even if the universities initiate the physical classroom routine, online classes would majorly become the source of education as a large mass of students sitting in a hall won’t be less than a containment zone. The movement of students to their universities will be a big issue, especially for international students. There will be mistrust and constant fear of catching the virus from a classmate who is not a local. The silver lining can be the unity towards facing this challenge and help one another cope up with studies and the missed classes.

Aspiring students must not lose hope and wait for their respective universities’ responses regarding admission procedures, visas, and classes. So, whatever the actions or measures universities take, there are still some clouds of bewilderment prevailing over the status of overseas education in the upcoming times. We hope overseas education doesn’t lose its appeal for the aspiring students.

For more on overseas education, visit Globalshala.

Harminder Singh