Over the last year, COVID-19 has radically changed the education sector around the world. With the world convinced that the virus is not going anywhere shortly, the study destinations for international students, especially from developing nations have been changing.
Their decisions are now influenced by the country’s population size, as well as the way the government tackled the COVID situation in the country. These reasons, combined, are diverting them away from the typical choice of living their American dream.
Besides the above-mentioned factors, several others, like the scope of physical classes, visa policies, and post-study work opportunities along with better COVID management are adding to the list of reasons.
Which Are The Countries That Made It To The List And Why?
1. UK –
Though it is no-brainer that the country continues to hold its place as one of the hotspots of international education, it has added a feather to its list.
Even though it continues to survive through lockdown, the UK has one of the most successful vaccination programs. With over half of its population having received at least the first shot of the vaccine, the students going there are at a greater chance of safety than other places.
Moreover, the rampant R&D work being done on COVID-19 asserts that it is trying to stay at top of its game to battle the virus, indicating that absolute normalcy might not be a far-fetched dream. This adds it to the top of the student’s list.
A survey by university rankings provider QS found almost half of those considering international study are more likely to head to the UK because of its successful vaccination program.
With its advanced healthcare infrastructure, Australia has been successfully able to sustain the spread of the virus. However, the biggest reason as to why the country continues to remain among the student’s top choices is the changes made by it in the education sector.
-Eligibility requirements for a post-study work visa will be relaxed for those who are enrolled in Australian educational institutes and have been impacted by COVID-19.
-Students will be given an additional time slot to submit their English language results due to the intricacies of the COVID’s impact.
The country soon wishes to reopen its borders for international students, making them eager to want to study there.
3. New Zealand-
Again, not really a surprise as to why New Zealand is among the top choices of the students. The first country in the world which once completely battled COVID-19 continues to live in great normalcy while very effectively managing its case count.
With Auckland being rated as the most livable city in the world, the country has emerged as a top priority for students amidst the pandemic times.
The list isn’t exhaustive, but these countries made it to the top cut.
Why Is It So?
Though the reason behind the decisions seems to be informed and well-made, the experts have to add to that.
Several foreign education consultants told The Print that students are now making well-informed decisions, and some are choosing to skip bigger nations like the US and opting for European nations and countries like Singapore and New Zealand, due to their population size and the management of the pandemic situation in the country.
Akshay Chaturvedi, founder, and CEO, Leverage Edu, an education counselling platform for students, told The Print,
“During our interaction with students, we realised that the country’s leadership has become a vital ground for applicants to finalise their decision.
Prospective international students will surely look at how countries reacted to Covid-19 when deciding where to apply. In the current times, students prefer going to the UK because of the immigration policies and the healthcare infrastructure.”
Krithika Srinivasan, co-founder of The CareerLabs, a consulting platform founded by ex-BYJU’s leadership opined to The Print that students are now choosing colleges from the “COVID angle” which includes, “looking at the preparedness of the university, the way the country they are opting for handled the pandemic and if it’s alright to pursue the course they are interested in, in a hybrid mode.
Some students were skipping countries like the US and opting for smaller European nations instead.”
With the pandemic now existing for over a year, it has become one of the biggest factors affecting the choices of international students while choosing their study destinations.
This seems to be preparing the backdrop for a big revolution that the education sector might undergo in the coming years. With the world facing recurrent waves of the deadly virus, the students are cautious while making this life-altering decision.
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