As the city reaches three months of being under shutdown due to the COVID-19 threat, many have been forced to alter their plans and their goals. One such group is students looking to study abroad, who are worried about travel, visa details, education methodology and financial issues with regard to their education.
“The situation in Chennai is very bad right now. I doubt we would be allowed to fly internationally any time soon. The consulates will also have a huge backlog of visa applications. It’s all very uncertain now, and I don’t know what that means for my education,” said Chahat Malhorta, who was accepted into The Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, USA.
For others, there is a risk of losing money due to tuition fees and living costs. Some say that colleges have asked for the full tuition fees ahead of the year, in what they think is a move to ensure student attendance.
“There is a £500 down payment for the college dormitories at the college I will be attending. If all goes well and I can fly, then there is no issue. But if I cannot go, I will lose that money and might have to pay a fine as well. I’m also going to a city where I don’t know anyone, so the initial 14-day quarantine will be very difficult alone,” said Solita Deb, who applies to the University of Arts London, UK.
Additionally, many say that despite changes in the teaching methodology to be part online and part in-person with social distancing norms, many colleges are still asking for the same tuition fee. Students feel as though this price is too high for the various facilities and services they will miss out on due to not being on campus.
“Many events are cancelled. I’m doing a business degree, and 75 per cent of the course is networking and making connections. My goal is to settle down in the States, and so missing out on that opportunity is a big blow for me. I can always study about business through an online course, but I am choosing to go to a reputed college for the benefits it can offer me,” said Tina Lulla, who was accepted into the University of South California, USA.
The mentality of the soon-to-be students is plagued with confusion. “I spent a long time preparing for the exams, and the essays, for my college. I worked hard and I had a clear-cut plan for what will happen in the future. But this has changed everything, and we don’t know when things will resume. So the future is looking uncertain,” said Malhotra.