We are being led by unprecedented times; with global cases of Covid-19 soaring close to 50 million the risk of life, the uncertainty of economy & business has affected the “normalcy” of life for all of us. In such challenging times, one of the hard hit industries is the education industry; while most of them have embraced schooling from home model, there’s a lot of measures and reforms the industry is looking forward to return to normalcy or being future prepared.
One key question I have been asked quite often lately as the application process for colleges and universities begin in India and abroad is,“Should we go study abroad this year?”. Well I cannot guarantee you this blog will read a 100% answer to it but I will try to list for you my line of thoughts that’s formed after experience of studying abroad, returning to my home country for work and being so close to the current affairs cycle. One can to strategies by thinking upon some simple questions as you lay out your plan to study abroad after you figure out what country you want to go to and which course is best suitable for you;
The Big Question(s)
- Do you want to stay in the migrating country to work after you are done with your course or are you open to coming back to your home country?
- How bad is the country affected due to Covid-19?
If your answer to the first question is that you’re open to returning to your home country; then I believe you would have it a little bit easier than others at making this decision. Just hang in there and wait for the government policies being formed on international travel, education, visas etc and how your chosen university liaison with those changes and looks forward to welcoming the International students.
However, If you are on the other side of question and you want to stay abroad and work –A bachelor student should be unaffected by the current situation as you have about 3 -5 years in your hand and a lot of situations can defer and be certain by then. However, If you are a masters student, taught or research and applying right after your graduation with little or no work experience, you might want to re-think it a little.
In my personal experience, I dived straight from Bachelors to Masters, with three months of internship to a class of extremely talented and skilled professionals and definitely the masters course structures abroad are more advantageous for people who have worked in professional set ups. Ever since then, I have requested everyone to leave the Indian mindset of jumping straight from one level of studying to another just to GET DONE WITH STUDYING and request one to gain some corporate or social experience with the kind of profile you are looking to study and work in future with.
For the other set of people who may have an experience but are unsure due the covid-19, the best key is homework, homework and homework, on the country you are applying to, the university you are choosing to go. Map it, how has the country responded to the corona crisis, job market, economy etc. What are the government reforms for rebooting business & economy? What are the steps taken to protect the immigrants?
If you can you must hold yourself for another year. Buy yourself the time, Let the environment become more certain, give time for employers and governments to acquire normalcy with rules and reforms of “new normal”. Think about it like this, if you go this year you graduate in one or two years. But if you defer it to next year, you buy yourself 2-4 years of time and that’s automatically safer than next year. Also, remember the world isn’t just battling Covid-19, pre-corona also the world was into major reforming and restructuring like the Brexit deal etc. and the outcomes of those are still pending.
You must be wondering, what I do with this one year in hand that I would have; the job market in our home country isn’t the best either.
To best utilise this time my recommendations will be:
- If you have a job: hang in there, while you are earning a regular salary and can save some money for your time abroad, you can also be more prepared for a corporate life and class discussions.
- If you don’t have a job and you are struggling to find one due to Covid-19: skill yourself: One of the most economical way that I have personally cracked is through Udemy (I am sure there would be more such platforms), an online platform with economical courses in your related fields that certifies you at the end of it.
- Attend webinars, forums, events and network in your field of study/work.
- Work on your research and writing skills
- Work on your presentation skills
- Work on your Soft skills
- Build your LinkedIn platform
- Map the country you are applying to: their current issues, business and economic environment, culture etc. It will save you time while you are on-ground.
To sum it all up, whatever decision you make, just evaluate the pros and cons in an individual context. Times are surely challenging but what you make out of your journey is what you do on ground and how you work your way up to your dreams.
About The Author
Diva is a Manager-Communications and Public Relations for a consultancy based out of New Delhi. Mostly found relaxing (read: going mad chasing news cycles and clients) and being sarcastic, Diva is also an adherent lover of nature, coffee, reading, art and travelling. When not found doing any of the above, she can be found on Instagram sharing weird memes and life (read: live) stories.