With many countries' borders shut and restrictions on travel in place due to COVID-19, the idea of studying internationally might seem a little hopeless right now.
However, here at Edvoy, we believe that nothing should stop you being able to pursue your dreams of studying abroad - even in a global pandemic.
COVID-19 has transformed student life across the globe, with students learning, working, and even graduating virtually. These changes are set to stay in place for the foreseeable future, so universities and students alike are having to adapt quickly, resulting in some exciting and creative solutions to the challenges COVID-19 poses for international students.
Student life certainly won’t be the same for a while, but that doesn’t mean you can’t study abroad whilst embracing the new normal!
Here are five reasons why the future might be brighter than you think for studying abroad during COVID-19…
Universities are still welcoming international students with open arms
Universities in many countries such as England, Ireland, and the United States are preparing to welcome international students in September. Your eligibility to enter a country might depend on where you’re coming from, so be sure to check out the latest immigration advice and get in touch with your destination university if you need support.
For example, non-citizens cannot currently enter the United States if they have been in countries including Iran, China, and the UK over the last 14 days, whereas in the UK and Ireland, international students will be allowed to enter the country as long as they quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
Quarantine might be a challenge, but it means that once you’ve been in the country for 14 days, you’ll be free to attend any on-campus events, lectures, and activities that are taking place. Universities will also be working hard to support students during this time, so don’t worry - whilst you may need to be physically isolated, you certainly won’t be bored!
Online learning can be temporary
Even if you aren’t able to travel to your study abroad destination right now, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to later in the year! Perhaps you’ll need to start your course online, but as advancements are made in tackling coronavirus, you may be able to transition into on-campus learning later on in your degree course, giving you the chance to study abroad after COVID-19.
Australia is a great example of this - for now, the borders are shut and international students can’t enter the country. However, the Australian government has agreed to begin reissuing international student visas, and will be allowing students enrolled at Australian institutions to count online study towards their degrees until the borders reopen.
This means that you’ll still be able to get a degree from an international university even if you do part of the course at home. It may not be the study abroad experience you imagined, but you could save a lot of money on accommodation and living costs, and you might even find yourself enjoying online learning!
Keeping safe on campus
Universities are working really hard to ensure that campus life is as safe as possible when students return. Think spread out study spaces, ‘bubbles’ of students in student accommodation, and ‘blended’ learning techniques that combine both face-to-face and online teaching methods.
If you are able to travel to your study abroad location, keeping you and those around you safe will be your university’s top priority. Depending on where you’re studying you might be asked to quarantine upon arrival, stick to certain social groups, and do a lot of your learning virtually. These safety measures are in place in order to allow you to study abroad, so it’s important that you stick to them once you arrive.
University campuses in autumn 2020 will certainly look different, but if you can learn to embrace the new normal then you can still have a great time and succeed in your studies.
When you think about freshers’ week, you probably think of huge fairs, big parties (and the subsequent hangovers), and packed lecture halls — all things that sadly won’t take place this autumn – except for maybe the hangovers. However, one of the main ways that universities and colleges are helping students settle in this year is through online events.
The classic pub quiz can easily turn into a zoom quiz, and course mixers can work as online gatherings - chances are, your virtual calendar will be absolutely packed with events! This also means that even if you have to start studying in your home country, or if you’re quarantining once you arrive, you can still take part in freshers’ activities.
It might not be the freshers’ experience you expected but remember, everyone is in the same boat, and there are some advantages - anyone who has ever fought their way through the crowds at freshers’ fair will tell you that there must be a better way to do it. Perhaps online freshers’ fair is the answer we’ve been looking for!
Flexibility with high school exams
Admissions teams at universities and colleges across the world know that your final exams probably didn’t go the way you planned, and are making adjustments accordingly. Whatever your situation - from sitting them at home to not sitting them at all - don’t panic, as studying internationally is likely still an option for you.
According to Universities UK, “Universities are actively working to understand how they can make admissions decisions for students who may be unable to take their final year high school examinations on schedule this summer”.
They advise getting in touch with examining bodies or universities directly to address any questions you might have, as this will likely differ on a case-by-case basis.