Keep your Study Abroad Dreams Alive!
On 13th June 2020, from 04:00 PM onwards, The Bhawanipur Education Society College, in collaboration with IDP Education, Kolkata was proud to present a webinar on managing students’ studying abroad dreams whilst the COVID -19 pandemic rampaged throughout the world. The esteemed speaker was Ms. Chandrani Mukherjee (Destination Manager, UK) who shared her expertise in this arena and helped the students understand the right steps to take currently.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China in December 2019 and spread across the globe by early 2020, has caused mass-destruction of human lives and economies. No country has been spared the wrath of the virus. Amidst this, every section of human society has been disrupted. Businesses have shuttered, universities have closed and travelling abroad is restricted. Students now have to rethink their plans and develop new strategies to ensure that they can retain maximum benefits from studying abroad while staying safe and healthy.
A recent poll conducted by an educational consulting company revealed that for 91% of all Indian students surveyed, their study abroad plans remained unchanged. This mindset, though surprising, is welcome. Ms. Mukherjee assured the students that universities abroad are taking strict contingency measures to make sure that the student population is unaffected and out of harm’s way during this pandemic. These measures include shifting classes online, ramping up student support from the universities, taking stringent safety measures within campus and offering English Language training for the courses where a TOEFL or IELTS score is essential. If students chose to go ahead with their study abroad plans for this semester or one in the near future, Ms. Mukherjee suggested that they should make sure that they are in touch with the university administration regularly to be informed about all the safety measures in place.
Some universities, like North-Eastern and University of Buffalo in the US, are offering unique virtual study abroad programs which promise the same immersive experience as regular ones, offering students an opportunity to explore global ideas. A key benefit for virtual programs is that exposure to different views from various countries would be more accessible as studying online is much cheaper and more sustainable.
Keeping in mind that since the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation, students were asked to be flexible with their plans. The webinar ended with the assurance that if this is the ‘new normal’ they have to live with, universities will do all they can to retain their community of international students. The students were asked to keep track of changing visa restrictions in accordance with allowed international travel and co-operate regularly with the chosen university to ensure a hassle-free journey.
The webinar was organized by BESC SETU and the student organizers for the webinar included Mrigank Agarwal, Kashish Burman, Akshat Agarwal, Satyam Kumar Arya, Gaurav Daga, Soniya, Ashutosh and Astha Baruka. Technicalities were looked after by Gaurav Killa. The reporter for the event was Anusha Paul Choudhury.