Here’s how Indian students can continue to live their ‘study-abroad’ dream even amid the pandemic

Global Citizen By Sharad Somani January 20, 2021

All through 2020, a question mark has hung over the prospects of Indian students who set their sight on overseas studies. Universities, and countries, have chalked up newer models of teaching to adapt to a post-pandemic world. Uncertainty still looms large but Indian students are now slowly planning a return to their classrooms overseas.

Reports say Ajay Devgn’s and Kajol’s daughter Nysa returned to the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore in September after the university opened its doors to overseas students. Many young Indians have been taking a similar route.

Making admissions easier

The education sector is taking the lead in many countries such as Australia, the UK, and the US. For international admissions, stringent checks, hybrid educational models, student concessions, and innovative techniques of learning are being put in place.

A holistic campus experience is a top priority for most Indian students, and universities are ensuring this by implementing preventive measures. New healthcare options are now being provided to students living away from their home country. Fee waivers, virtual tours, provisional admissions, and options to join campus anytime are some solutions that foreign academic institutions are now offering.

Let us look at a few cases from some popular destinations for higher education:

Australia

  • Deakin University in Victoria, Australia is offering up to AUD 25 million in hardship support for international students.
  • La Trobe University in Melbourne is offering scholarships up to 30 percent of the entire tuition fee for their Business Studies Programme.
  • The University of Melbourne has put in place an elaborate Stage-Gate System to be followed in the next few months, detailing which activities will be undertaken in a phased manner, adhering to COVID-19 norms.

Europe

  • University of Essex in the UK has announced it will employ dual-delivery education methods for 2020-2025.
  • In Spain, Les Roches Marbella says it has created an immersive experience through virtual reality so that prospective students and their families can visit the campus digitally and get their queries answered about facilities, the different academic programmes, and admission requirements.

Singapore

  • Stringent return to school protocols are in place at institutions like the Singapore American School, including daily temperature checks and food service regulations.
  • The National University of Singapore has gone a step further. It has developed uNivUS and NUSafe apps, which are used to screen students before admission to in-person classes, entry into canteens, taking the shuttle service, and use of recreation facilities on campus. A detailed FAQ section will help students gauge requirements, plan their applications, and journey to Singapore smoothly for the next term.

United States

  • Universities and colleges are making sure all safety precautions are being implemented before the Fall term. The Marsh Risk Consulting Group’s ‘Return to Campus: A Practical Guide for Managing COVID-19’ details out protocols that can help Indian students looking to transition from lockdown to return to campus.
  • George Mason University in Virginia has initiated a Safe Return to Campus plan for its Fall 2020 semester with a hybrid model of in-person instructions and expanded online classes – a model that is being applied by other universities as well.

Protocols in place, focus on healthcare

Countries accepting overseas students require COVID-19 test results before a student gets to school. On-arrival screenings and random surveillance testing are being performed. Most campuses are ensuring the safety of their students by putting several checks in place, including daily temperature screening and mandatory wearing of masks and the use of sanitisers.

Universities are going out of their way to make overseas students comfortable as they adapt to a new culture, a new currency, and now a new normal as well. For instance, the #YouAreWelcomeHere social media and scholarship campaign that was started by US institutions last year, has gained a lot of traction during the pandemic. The campaign continues to affirm how institutions in the US look forward to welcoming international students and are committed to their well-being.

A financial cushion when needed

Indian students have historically been self-reliant when studying overseas, taking on teaching assignments and part-time jobs to bolster their stipends or fund their tuitions. The pandemic has put a temporary brake on several employment avenues for them this year, requiring them to rely on their families back home for funds.

Students are also likely to incur emergency healthcare expenses or may need extra funds for stocking up on necessities when living on their own. As a parent, you can mitigate their financial worries with the help of a money transfer platform that allows you to easily send money to them. If you wish to send money from India, Western Union is a reliable  solution. You can get verified online and do not need to visit an agent location. Paying tuition fees and making other payments, such as for healthcare or travel, can be done directly from the comfort of your home through Western Union.

Western Union lets you send up to USD 10,000 per transfer for education purposes. As for other purposes, you can send up to USD 5000 to your children studying in the UK, Australia, Singapore, France, Germany, Ireland, or Italy.

Last words

Not even a fortune teller can predict what the next few months portend. But if you research and plan for your child’s studies and overseas needs, the world will remain a safe place to be in!