How the Coronavirus Pandemic Could Affect Students Studying Abroad
June 23, 2020
Studying abroad has always been popular, and many students have already started plans to study abroad this September. However, choosing a suitable course to study and deciding which university is right for you is not an easy decision. Studying abroad comes with even more planning, like sorting out flights and visas. For many students, the disruptions that the global pandemic has caused has led to anxiety and confusion. If you are struggling at the moment, here are your potential options:
Whilst the current situation is intimidating, by this point you may have already made a lot of progress on your application and it could be in your best interests to keep going! The pandemic has affected thins greatly, but things are rapidly changing all the time, so we don’t know for sure how things will be in September-October time, which is when most courses begin.
Universities are all working hard to figure out how they can best teach and support new and existing students, so whilst your first year may start a little differently than you had imagined, it could still be a great one. Read what your prospective universities have to say on their websites and find out whether they still are accepting online applications and if they offer any support. You might even have an advantage, as with so many people postponing, there will be more places available on courses and less competition.
Plan What You Can
Use your time to plan efficiently and research all the necessary visa and permit information. Sites like UniversityCompare.com are really helpful at providing information, for example, you might want to read their F1 Visa guide which will let you know why you’d need it to study in the U.S. Make sure you start looking into these things in advance, from visas to student loans, as these things can take time to process and may be slowed down further by Coronavirus. You should also keep up to date with the news and the status of the virus through official sites like World Health Organisation, to keep an eye on the situation.
Postpone or Defer
If studying this year feels too intimidating, your next option may be to defer your entry or postpone your application. You will need to check what is possible for your chosen university, but some allow you to apply this year and then hold your place for next year. If you defer your entry, you can make use of your application progress and feel at ease knowing your place is waiting for you next year. If deferring isn’t possible, postponing your application altogether may be necessary.
Applying next year instead will give you the whole year to continue thinking about what you would like to study, and which university is your top choice. Keep in mind that many other students may also choose to postpone their studies, which could mean more competition over places. Work hard at getting relevant work experience placements and carry on studying by applying for short courses or online study. Your application will need to be really strong when you apply next year, so if you choose to postpone, you should think about how you can use this time efficiently.
Online distance learning has been the method of teaching used at the end of the current academic year, so you can find out more about how successful it was by hearing from new graduates. Due to the necessity of online learning, there are actually more courses now being offered this way. If studying online sounds great to you, you should look into online degrees as a viable option. Check the admission requirements first, but some online degrees offer later starting dates if you need more time to think about it.
If studying a full degree online is not your thing, you should still make use of online short courses. Lots of universities and colleges offer these, and they can be a great way to spice up your CV or application. You could also pick up a new skill, such as learning a new language or picking up digital art skills on programs like Photoshop and Illustrator – there are lots of great ways you can learn online.
Don’t Give Up
Hopefully this information has given you lots to think about and helps you to process your options. Studying abroad is an exciting prospect, and whilst the pandemic has made it a more difficult and confusing process, you shouldn’t give up on your dream too soon. It could still be possible, so don’t give up, carry on with your applications, or keep your dream on hold for next year. There will always be opportunities, no matter what challenges you must face to reach them. There are lots of ways to study and travel, so keep in mind all of your options before deciding what is right for you.
Featured Image: Marco Lopez, Unsplash.