Students Studying Abroad Struggle Amid Coronavirus

Source: NewsChannel 5

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, took the world by storm when it started spreading to thousands of people worldwide. All the significant economies felt its effects in the initial stages. However, when the World Health Organisation declared it a worldwide pandemic, then the panic and sense of uncertainty were felt in all the sections of society, and international education was one of the most hard-hit sectors.

Students at these international education institutes said the experience of coronavirus lockdown and sanctions has been profound, as they struggle with the global coronavirus outbreak and widespread paranoia. The situation is rapidly evolving as current levels of infections stands at 212,000+, and almost 9000+ people have died. Coronavirus has killed people in 16 countries, and these countries are a hub of international students too.

Coronavirus Pandemics

There have been many official recommendations coronavirus pandemics regarding international students of various nationalities from the suffering countries like the United States, South Korea, Canada, Australia, China, Iran, Italy, India, and European Union countries. This has sparked a worldwide caravan for students to return home.

Students studying abroad are currently feeling overwhelmed, sad, and confused amid the crisis. As these students are stranded, out of money, and in all sorts of problems as international flights are getting rescheduled and canceled.  Students who felt safe and not panicked about the Coronavirus in each of our respective places are also feeling the wrath of coronavirus outbreak as they must go back home. Though the students are disappointed, they do understand the importance of these measures.

Some students are being given other options to study elsewhere. However, they are not comfortable with the measures to take by the universities as the new minors or subjects provided in those campuses do not meet their goals. Graduation ceremonies are also postponed indefinitely. Some universities had graduation ceremonies in May, but these ceremonies are shifted to December.

College & Universities Reaction

Universities all around the world have strongly insisted on the students going home in a matter of days. The profound threat of Coronavirus has sent many international programs into a tailspin. Thousands of students are scrambling to leave their lives in their adopted countries to return to their homes with more questions than answers. The uncertainty in the situation is palpable. 

Colleges are considering all the aspects of this premature return of students from abroad. However, in their case, the decisions were made solely to cater to student’s safety, not the monetary losses undertaken by the universities. Some universities have made the university’s top priority to get their students back from the programs sponsored by other schools and colleges safely.

Many international universities are providing financial aid to students on programs, by reimbursing them for railway and plane tickets or even helping cover the costs of travel upfront from their respective universities. Some students were also scared about the quarantine issue, and they were informed about the required procedure that should be followed upon their return after these vacations in the entirety. Some of these measures included self-quarantining and screening for Coronavirus.

As we got to know about the universities reimbursing the travel expenses, some universities did not help their students, and it left some students to pay for tickets out of their pockets as they did not think they would have to buy them so soon. There is a massive problem for students who have signed contracts for apartments, bank accounts, phone bills, and on the emotional side, some students are also struggling with leaving behind a place they now have started to love.

Travel Restrictions

Travel restrictions issued by various countries due to COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant delays at big international airports like the Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago-O’Hare International Airports. This delay has also stalled thousand of students in the United States. Students had to change multiple flights due to full airports and jam-packed planes. 

Though some students are a bit assured about the safety measures taken, some are not sure what health screenings procedures they will be subjected to upon landing on the airports. A significant question arises regarding summer study abroad. Some students who were supposed to study abroad this summer are now scrambling to find a summer job, internship or housing.

In recent years as the financial aid from various governments has become less, many International universities rely on international enrolment for getting much-needed funds. If the potential students cannot study and cannot apply in these countries amid the coronavirus outbreak, that would be a financial shock for several colleges and universities. 

Coronavirus outbreak has already put the alternative learning methods to the test. Due to this humongous outbreak and travel restrictions, most of the international students are not able to come to the United States and other countries with top international universities, and that will cause a significant disruption in the college education system. This is a significant development as, for some years, there has been a significant influx of students studying other countries, mainly from affected countries like China and Italy.

Coronavirus effect on International Students

China is in-fact a cause of the influx of one-third of all the international students in the U.S., which is a part of more than any other nation in the world both in high numbers and as an overall percentage of International students. In the present scenario, more than one-third of all colleges have already said that due to travel restrictions, some international students were unable to come from or return to their respective nations because of Coronavirus. By an estimate, roughly three-quarters of outreach and recruiting events in China had been severely hit by the spread of Coronavirus.

The bottom line is that, if fewer international students decide to quit or postpone studying in international universities, it could spell trouble for the colleges that bank on them for their funds. In countries like the United States, over the previous years, there have been substantial cuts in state funding for higher education, and this has put pressure on these international universities to admit more students who need fewer scholarships and aid.

The private universities that come on mid-tier slowly depend on the international enrolment will be hit particularly hard. It will be a significant cause of concern if a lesser number of talented international students that can afford tuition fees are going to be cut off. Furthermore, any school that is reliant on full-pay students is going to have a challenge coping up with this situation at hand as not every school has large endowments and funding from other resources.

Coronavirus Outbreaking Student’s Dreams

When we see colleges close in these times of Coronavirus, we see student’s dreams to be put on hold. There are thousands of colleges with millions of graduate students across the world with their dreams that are drastically being put to a stop by the COVID-19 outbreak. For some, the situation is far direr. Many college students solely depend on normal campus operations for their basic needs, from housing to access to food. As schools shut down, these students are left scrambling to find alternatives that may not exist.

A survey shows that out of all the college students, almost 40 percent were food insecure, 45 percent were housing insecure, and almost 10% were homeless. Those students will suffer by the closure of colleges and closing of student housing, campus food pantries, dining halls, and other on-campus resources. We can also foresee that students in precarious positions may not come back to finish their educations, which would forever disrupt their lives. There is a possibility that almost two or three million of the students sent back may never come back to complete their studies. 

This situation will arise due to factors like being out of college, growing debt, and having a college without a degree and substantial economic risk that is teetering behind them. Some students are immunocompromised, chronically ill, and mentally impaired due to various reasons, and they are the people who have suffered the most.

Other Concerns of Students

Students are struggling in other ways. Some say that they have both financial and academic concerns. They had some on-campus jobs, and their expenses were mounted as time passed due to the cost of food, utilities, and transportation, which are more expensive due to paying for unexpected flights back and forth from their homes. For some students who are comfortable only with in-person lectures, it is more difficult to concentrate on online classes. Their friends and roommates help some students, as some students hold group homework sessions.

For some students doing online classes is not easy. There is a problem of concentration as students will get easily distracted by their phones, they can even get bored a just record these lectures, or they might not even watch them. Online classes are nowhere as beneficial as regular classes. Despite knowing these obstacles, many students are already waiting for the time when they return to back to their campus. Some are set to graduate at the end of this disrupted semester, but some students plan to re-enroll for their respective courses. 

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