On a planet ravaged by the Corona Virus also known as the Covid 19 pandemic, online education has become the new ‘normal’. Whether students were studying abroad online or on campus, they are all navigating this reality of learning virtually. Navigating the situation in which this pandemic hit the country day by day has been a matter of facing risks that get deadly at any given moment thanks to the nature of the virus and its fast spread. The only option all educators had was to teach remotely. Now, this new reality also extends to those who are looking to study abroad. If a few months ago, we were told that we would be studying abroad – from our own homes – it would have been difficult to believe. In fact, the graduating class of 2020 was given their degree online even after they have completed their study abroad apsirations. That was the only option everyone had. The student who had applied to colleges for the year 2020 abroad and ahead are now stuck in their own countries due to restrictive flying in the current situations. The students had either bagged the scholarship or the college to go to another country to study abroad and learn under the professors actually and not virtually.
In these exceptional time and with the lock down due to COVID 19, many international university aspirants who wanted to study abroad need alternatives and accessible support options. To calm down the influence of the abroad study planning, a lot of colleges and universities are providing the virtual system for the students. Now the student can study abroad online from any place and any given time, and that too with a number of free courses being offered online even by the most prestigious institutions like Harvard and others! The students are now completing their work, assignments, and discussion of digital platforms like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams. Theses platforms have come as a savior for the students as well as the students. The teaching staff has developed as a similarly proactive part, who burned through the no time to learn new technologies to educate and give online lectures anytime. The teachers and the students have embraced the anytime learning, choosing at their time and pace.
As this year progresses, so are the virtual classes. Is this going to be the everyday ’normal’? Is this what it will feel like to study abroad? What we must remember is that when students opt to study abroad, they are also opting for the degree from that country and university. Yet, this also comes with practical work, especially for tech students and the like. A lot of students who have been studying abroad will be now studying abroad online. Because they went abroad just to study on campus under the guidance of professors and not at their homes sitting in front of their laptops and phones.
While various institutes are wrestling with the new need for virtual progress, for some it has been a consistent change for those who want to study abroad. Different institutes gave significance to tech integration and have been at the front lines. Online education is useful while conferring all the courses notwithstanding those which demand practical learning. All the more so for students of science and engineering who need practical lessons in the laboratories. This is also true for medical students who travel all the way to study abroad and even give specialised exams to gain entrance into these colleges and universities.
One of the biggest challenges the professors are facing is figuring out how to keep the students motivated who have been studying tirelessly in these times when the aspiration was to study abroad and not just study online. The questions like, how long are we going to keep doing this? or are we going to keep doing this? is degrading to sustain the momentum of the students. Students are allowing their passion to study abroad to motivate them in these stressful times. Also, many students have opted for colleges back home and have applied for exams like JEE Mains to be able to get into colleges in India. This is especially true for tech and medical students.
This shift from actual classes to virtual classes is a big adjustment when your main aim for to study abroad. And this is not something that needs to be unpleasant. This is something everyone has to do to this as a part of the community to protect each other. A lot of students’ motivation has been affected by being at home, yet the students’ long-term goals are keeping them on feet.