According to French expat Stephane Lagrange in an article for expat.com will student still seek to study abroad
What will universities and schools look like this fall and later on? If you are currently planning to study abroad or are looking back at the plans you made before the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s what you should know.
Where should you move for higher studies?
The USA, Canada, as well as European countries like France, the United Kingdom and Germany have always been top destinations for studying abroad. This year, however, the global health crisis is a game-changer, especially when it comes to choosing your host country. Today, the USA is considered to be the world’s most severely affected country by COVID-19, which makes it a less attractive destination for studying abroad. On the other hand, countries like New Zealand, Australia, as well as Germany and the UK remain among the favourites thanks to how they managed the health crisis and the facilities provided to international students.
New Zealand authorities, for example, are making sure that dormitories occupied by international students are being checked regularly – which proves that the health and well-being of its citizens and foreign residents truly matters. The UK is also providing COVID-19 screening tests to international students free of charge. Also, the duration of the Post-Study Work Visa has been extended to 2 years compared to 4 to 6 months previously. Meanwhile, Germany stands out for its free higher education system, including international students. Also, the country has fairly been able to move past the health crisis.
What’s the global trend?
Since the early days of the pandemic, surveys have been carried out by different institutions to measure the impact of COVID-19 on studying abroad. Teaching methods have changed considerably, with most universities provide online courses to their students. However, thousands of young people around the world still dream of studying abroad. According to a survey carried out Educations.com, only 5.4% of potential students are willing to cancel their plans of studying abroad – whether they were enrolling for degree or masters programmes, PhD or language courses.
It’s also worth noting that a large number of students have chosen to postpone their plans for studying abroad. In fact, only 48% of respondents plan to move overseas this year while the rest will be carrying on in a year or two. The evolution of the pandemic and current travel restrictions around the world brings along uncertainty. You will agree that studying abroad most often means discovering a new lifestyle while being immersed in a different culture with different traditions. This could explain why only 5% of respondents would consider enrolling for online courses this year.
A similar survey was carried out by the famous QS Top Universities website with European students. Ninety percent of respondents are still looking to study abroad, even though 46% of them will rather postpone their plans for a year at least. On the other hand, 10% of respondents no longer wish to study in the UK, while 11.1% of them are looking for an alternative destination to Italy. The same goes for France, where 8.8% of students are looking to move abroad, unlike Germany, which continues to attract international students. Spain also remains an attractive destination, as confirmed by 7.5% of respondents.
Things to consider before studying abroad
Be it choosing your school or university, or your host country, better get started now! Universities are already providing virtual events to potential candidates. Yale University and Harvard University are currently offering to visit several colleges in a single shared session this summer 2020 – you might consider this to save time and money. Oxford University offers live chats with teachers and alumni, so feel free to ask your questions. In case you need to pass tests such as the SAT or SAT Subject Test, do your homework.
If you’re moving to a country that requires you to get a student visa, make sure to enquire about current conditions and formalities. Also, check whether you need to prove your language proficiency. For example, if you’re moving to an English-speaking country and English is not your first language, you will have to sit for IELTS, TOEFL, or the Cambridge Proficiency Exam, etc. Also, keep in mind that this not only takes time but also comes at a price.
Choosing between on-campus, online and mixed courses
As mentioned above, on-campus studies mean that you will be in total immersion in your host country – which will also help in networking. However, this also means budgeting.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to the acceleration of online education which, of course, also means quality training. According to Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, there will be more and more mixed courses that are likely to lower the cost of studying abroad. Courses that do not require direct contact are going to be more widespread and valued. Arizona State University, for example, already allows students to follow their classes partly on-campus or entirely online at a lower cost, all for the same degree.
The prestige of the university matters
In a podcast, the presidents of three of the largest universities in the USA explained that today, it is even more important to choose a well-known training school or university. This means that the school or university will have greater means to sustain courses after the pandemic while being more flexible and responsive. According to their estimations, 10% to 20% of universities worldwide could go bankrupt in the short term. Also, consider having a look at universities that have invested the most in distance learning long before the global health crisis.
What about student housing?
Student housing is another crucial point to consider before moving abroad. For lower risks of contamination, go for larger dorms or fewer flatmates, keeping in mind that this comes with a cost. In most countries, proper sanitary measures have been taken, like the proper maintenance of student housing units, especially the toilets. Large universities are also considering providing COVID-19 tests as well as a contact-tracing app.
It is highly recommended that you get international health insurance before moving abroad. Feel free to contact different insurance companies and compare their offers before signing. Also, check whether your insurance policy includes coverage in the event of pandemics like the COVID-19 and that your host country has a well-equipped health system.