With the onset of a global pandemic, the likes of which we have never seen before, most plans to study or work abroad have been affected adversely. The lack of international flights, coupled with the strict restrictions placed on the entry of international travelers, has created a nightmarish scenario for most international students and global business executives. Keeping this unprecedented situation in mind, here are five invaluable pieces of advice one should keep in mind before embarking on an international degree in 2020.
1. Stay connected to the college
Most top colleges, including Harvard and Cambridge, are moving to a 100% online environment for the 2020 Fall Semester. Other colleges are also following suit given the high intake of international students and uncertainty around entry restrictions for certain nationalities. Besides, the US and the UK are two of the most affected countries, and the pandemic has not shown any real signs of abating yet. Even if the rate of infection does go down in the short term, most countries will be hesitant to accept foreign nationals before a vaccine is discovered. Under these circumstances, it is expected that colleges will move to an online-only mode for the foreseeable future. It is of prime importance to get in touch with the Admissions Board in advance and figure out the logistical and operational aspects of the 2020-2021 Academic Year.
2. Acclimatize to an online learning platform
There are many online platforms that currently provide a holistic educational experience. Portals like Coursera, Udemy, Edx, and Khan Academy offer online courses on a plethora of topics in collaboration with the best Universities in the world. The interactive and innovative teaching methods employed have managed to bring top-quality education to the different corners of the globe. In case you haven’t already participated in one of these courses, it is imperative that you start now. This is the future of education.
3. Obtain COVID clearance from a registered medical practitioner
The Schengen Area has already mandated a medical clearance certificate as a precondition to applying for a Visa. The US and most other developed countries are expected to follow suit. To that effect, you should practice safe physical distancing in your home country and follow WHO guidelines to the maximum extent possible.
4. Considerdeferral to 2021
If the problems seem insurmountable and nothing works out finally, it is probably the best idea to postpone your study plan to 2021, when things are expected to start opening up, especially in the second half. In the meanwhile, you could enroll yourself in a few online courses, learn a new language, or up-skill yourself for the challenges that lie ahead. While it is true that most students might opt to postpone their academic plans by a year, which might result in a massive backlog and inordinately high competition for vacant seats at the top universities, it could be a challenge worth undertaking given the uniqueness of the situation at hand. You could also spend this time freelancing or volunteering for a social cause. These are generally great ways of building up your CV. You could also have a shot at some of the top scholarships in 2021 if your profile matches their generally stringent requirements.
5. Stay positive and enthusiastic
While the world deals with a crisis of epic proportions, it is important that we stay focused and channelize our positive energy in the right direction. The world will learn to live through this, either by way of a vaccine or otherwise. We must be patient, keep things in perspective, and wait for our chance to turn our dreams into reality. Your time will come.