Studying Abroad: Is This The Right Time?

After the initial shock of the pandemic outbreak, things are gradually coming to pace as the world learns to live in the new normal. But some questions are still looming large, and one of these is whether this is the right time to send your child to study abroad. A year ago, it could have been a dream, but the situation is entirely different today as studying abroad in-person does not seem like an immediate possibility.

Several universities in the UK may delay new admissions until January next year, while many international universities across the US, Australia and Europe have cancelled face-to-face teaching and even end the term early. On the upside, students still have the option to resume studies online, which means that students who plan to study abroad and their parents need not worry because the road is still open.

Moreover, the numbers are encouraging. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), which coordinates the centralised application process for British universities, states that there has been a 32.9 per cent rise in the number of applications from India in 2020 over the last year. The apprehensions of the international students and parents about the study abroad programs may just be unfounded as things are already looking up. Here are some facts that can help them decide.

Hybrid learning will be the saviour

While online learning started as a quick fix for international HEIs, it may well become the mainstay of education in the new normal. Universities and business schools across the globe are all set to embrace hybrid learning as a long term arrangement. Students, too, are happy to study online, although they might miss the independence of living abroad. For parents, this could go a long way in swinging their decision in favour of foreign education as the child can be at home when the threat is there and join the classes physically once there is a tangible resolution to the problem. 

Putting the study abroad plans on hold is an option

Right now, parents would probably be coping with the crisis at hand as the financial downturn is the biggest reality. Rising layoffs, salary cuts, banks being reluctant to lend and uncertainties regarding future prospects makes foreign education a challenging proposition. But this is not a good reason to close the study abroad plans of your child for good; rather, putting them on hold could be a smart move. Moreover, education will probably get less expensive as students will have to stay home for at least a part of the year with the hybrid system in place. The best thing to do would be to continue monitoring the situation and stay in touch with universities for more information. Thankfully, most universities run online application platforms, so you need not travel to apply and can wait till the last moment as well.

Let the child utilise the in-between time

While you may postpone the international studies plan for 2021 or beyond, it makes sense to utilize the gap effectively to keep the child motivated.  It is a good opportunity to research the future study options and decide by the New Year when the applications for the next academic term start. Meanwhile, the child can start with an internship or even get a short-term job, which will enrich their resume as they apply to reputed universities. Moreover, they can still prepare and take their English language tests for the next year because they would need to clear one to apply.

Even as the crisis seems to be here, for now, international education experts believe that the setback will be only temporary and an industry recovery is in sight. As things get better, parents will want to choose the right HEIs for their children. Ideally, you need to ensure that they are able to handle the period of distance learning with smart solutions. Further, they should prioritize student wellbeing and safety in the new normal. The right collaboration keeps the dream achievable, pandemic or no pandemic!

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