As universities move online, is this the right time to study abroad?

New Delhi |

Published: April 14, 2020 1:25:53 pm

Students wondering if it is the right time to study abroad (Express Photo by Amit Mehra /Representational image)

— Written by Sumeet Jain

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, a majority of universities have moved their current classes online. Many students who had planned to go abroad for studies in the fall 2020 session are concerned since, if the conditions do not improve, the upcoming session could also be moved online. What does it mean for international students?

While the quality, content of education and professors remain the same, what changes is the delivery mechanism. It might be difficult initially to get used to it. Many students will tell you that they do have to take online classes when they are on campus as well. With great technology available, these classes would not be that challenging.

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International exposure

Learning has two parts: knowledge and engagement. What can be delivered online is knowledge; engagement delivery is challenging and not as effective, especially with laboratory work. So what about the experience and engagement?

One of the most important parts of studying abroad is the experience one gets from living in that country. That is not going away as once the situation is better, students would move to the campuses. So students are not being robbed of the experience of studying abroad.

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Job scenario

To get exposure, students can always opt for relevant internships which can help them understand the course well and offer good exposure to the industry and employability. While employing, the employer will look more at the skills of the candidate. Online or offline might not make that big a difference, especially after the coronavirus crisis when almost all educational institutes are moving online.

This is rather a blessing for students applying for upcoming sessions as it would bring down the living cost to almost nil, for the one or two semesters which are expected to be held online. To have more international students (who also are a major source of income for universities), discounts on tuition fees can be very easily expected.

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Visa woes

Amid the global pandemic, most students are worried if they would get the required visas. This is something that no one can guarantee, not even universities. Starting the course online should make a good case for F1 visa. One of the most important factors the visa officer sees is the primary purpose of the candidate, which is education. With some course credits with you, this should really help you.

So starting the course online gets you a chance to go ahead without wasting time. Also, the economic downturn is the best time to study. By the time you graduate the situation would be much better and you would be equipped with skills.

— The author is Co-founder, Yocket

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