Thousands of Indian students who planned to study abroad have been put in jeopardy as a result of the second wave of Covid-19
Aman Trivedi was planning to start a master’s degree programme in international affairs at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance in August. When the Delhi University graduate began applying to schools abroad in September 2020, he had no idea that India’s Covid-19 crisis would spiral to such proportions.
The 20-year-old told Quartz, “I absolutely did not predict the second wave of the pandemic because there was a sharp decrease in the number of cases at the end of 2020.” “I had no contingency plan in place, and the second wave of the pandemic totally altered my plans.” Trivedi’s admission has been postponed for a year, and he is far from alone.
Indian borders are closed, with a few exceptions, as the world continues to see over 280,000 new cases of coronavirus every day. Students who want to return to college and have valid visas are able to travel to most countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom—the two most common destinations for Indian students—but first-timers are having difficulty getting visas because most embassies are either closed or moving at a snail’s pace due to a lack of workers. According to Abhishek Nakhate, founder and CEO of UK-based educational consultancy Zoom Abroad, the visa process has “become stricter in terms of screening and determining the genuineness of the student.”
Students are concerned that the pandemic will jeopardise their futures, as the second wave is unlikely to end before July and a third wave appears to be looming. Most universities in North America and Europe require students to be completely vaccinated before attending classes. Although some institutions have stated that they will provide assistance on campus, the tension remains high. Especially among Indian students, who are concerned about the country’s vaccine shortage.
Several students protested in March against Australia’s tough stance on holding temporary migrants out for a year, despite the fact that India’s registered Covid-19 cases were tiny. The fate of the Indian students, according to Education Minister Alan Trudge, is still dependent on the vaccination regime in their home country and their ability to provide proof of vaccination upon entry into Australia. Meanwhile, some US universities have announced that beginning in August-September, all incoming students taking physical education classes would be required to show proof of vaccination. Many who are unable to meet this criteria will enrol in online courses.
For Indian students in other parts of the UK, the financial burden has increased. Students were removed from the red list when the UK put India on it—as long as they paid the £1,750 (Rs1.8 lakh) hotel quarantine charge. The University of Edinburgh has announced that it will “support hotel quarantine costs” for certain Indian students up to £1,750.