The Covid pandemic has brought normal life to a grinding halt. It has disrupted many plans including students who wished to pursue their higher studies abroad. Robert Dilinger, the Director of Dilinger Consultants, shares a few important aspects with Hello Vizag for the benefit of students.
Q. Covid-19 has impacted the lives of students. What is the scenario now?
1.It is true that COVID-19 has disrupted all our lives including the plans of many students in India and overseas. There are two major problems. Most colleges and universities in India had to postpone their semester exams and this has affected the final year students more. Then we have the issue of no international flights operating and international borders closing to control the spread of the virus.
2. What are the factors that students are looking at?
Students consider factors such as safety, health facilities available in the country, reputation of universities, quality of programs offered, ability to work part time while studying, the opportunity to work for a few years after completing their studies and the chances of getting Permanent Residence in the long run.
3. What are the challenges to be faced, if a student decides to study abroad?
When students go overseas during this pandemic, they will have to undertake a COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before flying and take a test on arrival in the new country. Further, they will have to stay in quarantine for two weeks on arrival. In addition, students will have to be prepared that they may have to undertake most of their classes online for the first semester and may have limited part time work opportunities at the start of their program.
4. Which are the countries being preferred post pandemic? Are they the same ones as preferred before the pandemic?
Prior to the pandemic, the 5 most popular countries for Indian students were the 5 English speaking countries namely USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and UK.
However, after the first eight months of the pandemic there is a lesser demand for USA simply because USA has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the world. Further, the upcoming elections and rising unemployment in USA, due to the virus are factors that deter students and parents. Today the three most popular destinations are Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
5. How are the parents concerned and what kind of queries are they coming up with?
Parents have always been worried about the safety of their children. However, during this pandemic, safety has taken a whole new meaning. Today, parents are more worried about the health and safety of their children going overseas. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada that have very few COVID-19 cases and have successfully managed to bring the virus under control are now preferred by parents.
6. What is the scenario around examinations and entrance tests?
For the first six months of the pandemic most examination testing centres were closed in India and around the world. However, we are now seeing most centres opening up. The regular English tests such as IELTS, PTE and TOEFL are now being conducted all over India.
7. What are the suggestions you would offer for a student travelling abroad for further studies?
My suggestions would be for students not to rush in and apply. Now that we have a better understanding of the nature of this virus, students can start applying to the country of their choice for the session commencing in 2021. Students must be prepared that till the internationals borders open, they will have to study online from India. Online study is something that most Indian students are not aware off and have never experienced before. So, they need to give themselves time to adjust to this new online method of education.
8. What would be the percentage of students going abroad the next year?
The number of Indian students going overseas in 2020 and 2021 will be less than half the usual numbers due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Perhaps this will be the trend till a vaccine is easily available and India and the world comes to grip with the virus.
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