COVID-19: Dos and Don’ts for Indian students studying and opting to study abroad


Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan

Recently COVID 19 threat started affecting abroad Universities and lot of transformations are taking place in the global education scenario. Study abroad programmes will be heavily affected through travel ban due to Corona viral infection. Recent trends reveal that more than 30 countries are seriously pursuing overseas education programmes. Both developed and developing nations including third world countries started increasing their revenue through attracting overseas students. English speaking countries like United States, UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada are the major destinations for Indian students for higher education. Recently non English speaking countries like China, Russia, Ukraine, Philippines, Georgia, etc. are emerging as some of the potential countries for overseas education. All countries coming under European Union and European Council are actively promoting study abroad programmes.

More than 5 lakh Indian students are currently pursuing higher education in abroad Universities. On an average one lakh students are joining foreign universities per annum for potential higher education. Their courses of choice may include under graduate, graduate, post graduate, doctoral, post-doctoral, skilling and diploma programmes. Student’s choice of higher education mainly depends on part time work, post study work visa, funding opportunities, cost of living, etc. EU countries attract more Indian students through liberal post study work visa programme. Recently UK reinstated the post study work visa. Kerala which form 1.13 percent geographic area of the country sends nearly 20000 students annually to foreign Universities. Nearly 5000 students from Kerala are pursuing medical education in non-English speaking countries like China, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Philippines, etc. Most of the abroad Universities are in the process of transition to online education in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic and some of them are on the verge of permanent closure.

Most of the abroad Universities charge heavy fees for foreign students keeping the fee at a low rate for domestic students. These Universities used to get more revenue through supporting overseas education programmes. Of the Asian students, Indian and Chinese students are the potential stake holders for the study abroad programmes.

Increasing numbers of institutions in UK, US, Europe and Australia have shut campuses and switched to online classes as the number of Covid-19 cases worldwide grew at an alarming rate. Economists suggest that World is moving towards global recession and Universities started limiting their spending. Countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and UK Universities closed the campuses and imposed strict disease control measures so as to break the transmission chain.

In the wake of Covid threat students pursuing for higher education in foreign universities and those aspiring for study abroad programmes must follow the following guidelines

Students currently pursing higher education

  1. Care should be taken to follow appropriate biosecurity measures. Always try to be in the hostel and residential places. Try to avoid travel and make measures to cut transmission chain. Always try to avoid travel, visit to malls, get-together, etc.
  2. Try to avoid travel in connection with study, research, internships, part time jobs, etc. It is better to avoid part time jobs since most of Indian students prefer to do part time jobs to support their studies.
  3. Try to facilitate learning and teaching through online
  4. Always try to avoid primary, secondary, tertiary or community contacts as part of controlling infection.
  5. Students need to develop appropriate skills and mental strength to face unhealthy situations
  6. Make regular video calls with parents and relatives
  7. Never try to take a hasty decision for a travel to the native country
  8. Those who returned from abroad consequent to COVID threat can pursue for online education or tutorials in association with the University. Regularly visit the university websites for updates or circulars if any.
  9. Contact the embassies or consulates in connection with extension of Visa procedures, postponement of visa application process, interview, etc.
  10. Always try to avoid face to face teaching within the University
  11. Expect substantial delay in convocation, immigration process, etc.
Those interested to pursue higher education abroad within one year

  1. It is preferable to avoid forthcoming two semesters in EU countries and non-English speaking countries. But for United States, Canada and Australia, students can try for 2021 winter admission.
  2. Those who completed GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS and CGFNS can try for admission within the validity period. Based on the scores students can try to get admission which in turn can be postponed for two semesters.
  3. Try to ensure sufficient health insurance before leaving for higher education abroad
Those who are interested for overseas education during 2021-22

  1. Start preparing now itself for proficiency tests.
  2. Try to avoid countries coming under European countries and European councils including non-English speaking countries
  3. Never rely on Part time work and Post study work visa for taking decision on education abroad
  4. Try to contact the Indian students of prospective Universities abroad

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