The COVID-19 pandemic derailed the plans of many Indian students who were planning to study abroad in 2020. Educational institutions were temporarily shut down and an international travel ban was implemented across the globe. Given such an uncertain and unprecedented scenario, many students refrained from applying for the fall semester.
However, with quite a few foreign universities getting ready to accept international students again, hope is on the horizon for the Spring 2021 semester. Admission processes for the spring semester are now open, with courses starting from January 2021.
If your child wishes to join a foreign university in the spring, the following checklist can help them navigate the new normal to secure the education of their choice.
- Study the pandemic response of various countries. Different countries have taken different approaches to tackle the pandemic. Education hotspots like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK have imposed strict restrictions to manage and curb the spread of the virus. Consequently, many of these countries are now in a good place to start welcoming international students back.
- Research how universities are preparing for the new normal. Universities are working with their respective governments to jump-start on-campus classes for international students. For example, many institutions are blending face-to-face learning. Canada has modified travel restrictions that allowing international students to travel to Canada from 20 October 2020. This means students can start their courses in spring early next year. However, this rule is applicable to only those students who will be attending a ‘designated learning institution’. These institutions must have a COVID-19 readiness plan in place, as identified by the government.
- Check the COVID-19 related requirements of the preferred university. For example, the University of Melbourne has created a roadmap for the safe return of students to campus. It is to be done in a phased manner, in line with government guidelines and healthcare advisory. The University of Cambridge has created an Outbreak Research Plan, which is a clear set of measures to keep students safe on campus. The Plan also includes an arrangement for students arriving from abroad, who wish to join during the spring semester.
- Stick to the original plan as much as possible. The chances are high that your child had already started working towards their spring application process when the pandemic hit. Advise them to continue working on it, so they are ready to apply for the forthcoming spring semester. As the situation adapts, so will various universities. They can contact the universities they wish to join to ask for more information such as postponed deadlines for applications, blended learning options, etc. At the same time, ask them to prepare a contingency plan in case the original plan cannot be executed anymore. This could involve pursuing an online degree or deferring the course by a year.
- Use the time to work on a short online course that can increase chances of admission in the spring. These courses will also help your child work on their personal growth, keep motivation level up, and their mental health in check. Harvard University is providing a lot of online courses in disciplines such as medicine, technology, and business for free or at extremely affordable prices.
- Talk to guidance and career counsellors who can help your child determine the best course of action. They are the most dependable source for getting the right information in today’s rapidly changing world. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, countries (and the universities there) are redesigning the policies and processes applicable to international students. These counsellors have updates on the latest developments with respect to various university policies and course requirements.
- Speak to students already at a preferred university to understand the ground reality. They can be a friend or relative of yours or even a student ambassador. This will give your child a better understanding of what is happening on the campus. They can provide clarity on what kind of preparedness may be needed in terms of financial support, healthcare, food, and housing options. They can also highlight key pointers that must be kept in mind before joining the campus.
As the COVID-19 situation pans out, you can be there to support your child – emotionally, mentally, and financially. These are trying times, especially for your child who has worked hard to ensure their dreams can be turned into reality. Even if they are many seas away from you, you can be there for them when they need you the most. With Western Union outbound money transfers, you can send money securely so that all their needs are met. You have the power to cast a protective charm to secure the financial safety of your children, come what may.