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Why 2020 Isn’t the Right Year to Study Abroad Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Updated on: Jun 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown every life around the world into disarray. With over 4.5 million positive coronavirus cases, including 307 thousand deaths recorded currently across the globe (Source: WHO), it has forced every education official to shut down their campuses.

Due to the increasing number of cases and no vaccine in sight, countries have introduced temporary visa lockdowns to battle the ongoing pandemic. These measures have, however, put a halt to the careers of students in India planning to study abroad in the year 2020 and 2021.

The situation has grown to a point where no region is safe from the deadly virus, students are finding it difficult to remain committed to their plan of pursuing higher education abroad. And with no clarity on when the situation will improve, students are considering pursuing higher studies in India.

For the benefit of our readers, we have listed a few reasons based on the latest information why you should reconsider your plans of studying abroad in the year 2020 and 2021.

5 Reasons Why 2020 Isn’t the Right Year to Study Abroad


1. Universities have Switched to Digital Learning

Coping with the coronavirus outbreak is very complicated, especially for universities across the world. In response to the pandemic, universities have had to close their doors and shift to online learning.

Learning online can be effective in some ways, however, it isn’t effective for students with inadequate resources to take part in digital learning. According to a study conducted by QS, even students with adequate resources are arguing about the quality of education they are receiving online. While there are students keen on studying online, they too are concerned about the recognition of their online degree.

The bottom line is, digital learning defeats the purpose of studying in a foreign country. In my opinion, taking an educational loan and paying a heavy fee just to attend a class online is very impractical. You can receive a better quality of education offline from some top universities in India.

2. Fewer Employment Opportunities

A recent survey by Moneycontrol states that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has dramatically affected the economy of the most favoured destination for higher studies like the US, UK, Canada, Italy, Spain and Australia. With the slowdown of these economies, the probability of students receiving employment opportunities is very low.

The cost of higher education abroad is considerably higher than in India. Let’s consider that a student has come back to India due to the lack of job opportunities abroad. With education loans costing about 40-50 lakhs to study abroad, no student can repay their foreign education loans with the income he/she will receive in India.

The chief reason students want to study abroad is to improve their career prospects. And the lack of employment opportunities kills the purpose of them studying in a foreign university.

3. Significantly Lower Return on Investment

We’re all already aware of the fact that studying abroad is heavy on the pocket. However, earlier studying abroad made sense to students as they received placements with handsome packages from the universities. Considering the pandemic and the slowed-down economy, studying abroad doesn’t have the same benefits anymore.

Studying abroad could cost you around 20-70 lakhs on an average, depending on the university of your choice. Adding to this, you will also incur significant costs on airfare, housing fee, medical insurance, commuting expenses, food expenses and school supplies. While pursuing higher studies in India would cost you around 5-20 lakhs on an average.

Keeping in mind the digital learning aspect and the scarcity of jobs, you need to carefully assess the return on investment you get on applying for a university overseas.

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4. Restricted Student Mobility

Every year, thousands of Indian students go abroad to pursue higher studies. However, in light of the widespread coronavirus, many countries have come to a standstill and have introduced international travel restrictions.

According to a few students who have applied for admission abroad, many universities are still encouraging them to apply for admission and are keeping in touch with every student via email. However, because of the multiple extended lockdowns and lack of clarity from the government, they aren’t committing to any deadlines yet.

With every favoured country being affected predominantly by the virus, the chances of Indian students studying abroad is very unlikely. There isn’t even a shred of doubt that without a vaccine, it would be very difficult for students to enter another country.

5. No Vaccine Arrived Yet

According to Dr Anthony S. Fauci, an infectious disease expert, it estimated that it could take up to 12 to 18 months to develop a vaccine. Let’s say the health experts come out with a vaccine tomorrow, it will take them more than a few months to pass human trials, and about a year to successfully distribute the vaccine across the world. Hence, travelling safely to any destination will only be possible in a year or so.

Keeping aside the restricted mobility factor, it wouldn’t be advisable to travel with no vaccine present to a deadly virus as you’d be risking your health.

In conclusion

With that being said, the coronavirus outbreak leaves Indian students who wish to pursue higher studies with two options. One option is to wait it out or in other terms take a “gap year” and defer any foreign admission for a year or more. If you’re really committed to studying abroad, you need to wait for a year till the corona situation unravels.

The second option would be to pursue higher studies in India. Contrary to the popular belief, we still believe many institutions in the metro cities of India provide quality education to their students. Instead of taking a drop for a year, you can take up a post-graduation course to enhance your career. Do check out IIDE’s 11-month Post Graduation Program in Digital Marketing which is equivalent to an MBA. 

The scope of digital marketing is very intriguing and bright and thus, considering a career in this field can be extremely fruitful for you. You can head over to IIDE’s blog for some career insights on digital marketing before you make a decision. 

Got more questions? Write them in the comments section below and we will get back to you. 

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Mamta Shroff

Head of Admissions & Institutional Relations at IIDE

She has been working with new trends in the Education industry for the last 2 decades. Starting her career as an Academic Counselor in the Middle East with Emirates College for Management & Information Technology......[Read full bio]

1 Comment

  1. Santa monica

    Good information.


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