COVID19: Can it impact your foreign study plans?

March 16, 2020 8:04 AM

Ask yourself why did you decide on studying abroad?

By Abhishek Singhal

Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia have cancelled in-person classes due to COVID-19 outbreak—some classes will continue online. Similar is the case in Europe, a major destination for Indian students pursuing Masters in Management. So, should you invest in foreign education at this stage? While there’s no clear answer, students must keep in mind a few points:

  • Why study abroad? Maybe it was in search of better education options, possible emigration pathways, jobs. While in the short term, job possibilities and emigration pathways may get compromised, as the world readjusts, these would stabilise.
  • Value of education: Specifically, and this is important, if you are gunning for a top institute, and the value it adds to your profile, it would remainthe same. In these times of crisis, this value, driven by their perceived premium, and a rush for using the time wisely (in education as opposed to other options like a job, for instance), would only increase. This has happened in the past (in the post-Lehman Crisis world, education enrolment increased drastically) and I am certain it shall continue.
  •  Safety considerations: While it is not established yet, some climates may be more susceptible to spread of COVID-19.
  • Alternative options: While there is no real alternative to study at an MIT or an Oxford, if you have options, stick to those. Let’s say you have a decent job, in that case you may apply for MBA next year. Also, be aware that most good universities allow you to defer admission by a year. So, if you are unsure, it’s a good idea to get a positive admission outcome, and decide later.

If you are driven by education considerations, then apart from facing competition you may not be impacted. But if you are going abroad to study for emigration, you may be advised to put that off until the scare stabilises. Exercise caution, deliberate with reason, and take a considered call.

(The author is co-founder, UnivAdmitHelp. Views are personal)

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