Many students planning higher education abroad forced to change plans due to Coronavirus

Akshi Patel (name changed) had been saving up for over two years by working part-time while pursuing her graduation in management studies from University of Mumbai. The 22-year-old’s aim was to bag a seat in the MBA programme at the George Washington University but with the current lockdown situation, Patel thinks she might have to wait another year.

“The entire reason I wanted to study abroad was for the experience of their teaching methodology and encouragement on practical projects over theory. This year however it looks like most universities will end up opting for online classes and if that’s the case, I’d rather wait another year and apply for the course next year,” said Patel, who is currently waiting to hear from the state government on the status of university examinations to be able to clear her undergraduate degree.

“Meanwhile, I’ll also try applying for AIMS Test for Management Admissions (ATMA) and see if I can get through a good management institute in India,” she added. Patel is one of many students forced to change plans of pursuing higher education in universities abroad.

Simranjeet Singh Chawla, 26, has already got confirmation of admissions to the Master’s in Data Science course at the RMIT University in Melbourne for the July intake. While no official word has come from the university as yet, students are already thinking up options.

“Even though my admission is confirmed, I’m still waiting for official word on lectures and start of the semester from the university at present. If the university is organising only online lectures for this semester then I am thinking of deferring my admit to the February 2021 intake instead,” said Chawla, a resident of Borivali.

Experts are expecting more students to take tougher calls about their future prospects in the next few weeks. “Most students would want to experience studying abroad in the real sense and online classes will not be a welcome alternative. I feel more students will take a break from studies this year and maybe focus on work experience, if at all, or study harder to get through the same course next year,” said Abhijeet Kumar, a career guidance coach who runs a private firm in Mumbai.

Some students, however, are still hopeful of a shift in scenarios by September. “I’m currently scheduled to head to the UK in October on a scholarship. So far, I haven’t received any intimation of the academic year being postponed, so not really affected as yet There’s certainly a chance that they might move classes online, but that won’t change much for me,” said Anish Gawande , 23, Rhodes fellow scheduled to be at Oxford from October 2020.

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