Has Covid-19 damaged your study abroad plans?

For young people, we know this is a dramatic storm in future planning. It is certainly the biggest one we have faced in over 20 years in our work helping thousands of students come to Canada (and we have faced some big storms before). Here are a few tips to think about for when the pandemic uncertainty is less and we can all begin to make plans again.

For students who planned to study in 2020 it might still be possible. For example, regarding Canada, there is still planning going on for classes to begin in September as always. So far the Canadian government has announced that any one with a study permit can come to Canada. It has not announced that students can’t still apply for a study permit.

For students who can’t make it for the coming semester due to financial or other reasons, one natural step is to contact the institution to ask about its deferral policies. Can you request admission for the next semester? Is there a semester not too many months later or do you have to wait one year to start? What are the procedures to follow to keep a seat for the future. These are questions to check.

For students who planned to study Bachelor degrees, there are other options to think about especially if there is financial uncertainty for your family right now. For many years we have recruited some students who were already in first or second year of university studies in their home countries. We even have arranged for formal agreements between universities so students can easily transfer. You could consider studying at a university with a formal agreement like this or simply any university of your choice in your home country and then later see what universities abroad will accept the transfer of credits. For Canada it is often possible to transfer credits after one year or even two years of study but rarely beyond that. Professional programs like architecture or engineering or fine arts programs like drama or music or painting will not so easily accept transfer students. In Canada, to become a doctor or a lawyer usually requires studying medicine or law after a first Bachelor degree.

Another strategy for all students who are currently unclear about their options, is to consider delaying studies for one year or more. This might be a time for high school graduates to retake courses, improve their English proficiency or other beneficial uses of time. Students contemplating a post-graduate diploma or professional master degree might think about working to get more experience and more earnings. For those looking to do a thesis under a professor offering programs like this for Master and Doctoral programs, don’t give up. Especially in Canada, there is every indications professors will be seeking such students just as much as before, and lots of government investment will be made for research into all aspects affected by the covid-19 pandemic (infectious disease, banking and so on).

Finally, one last thought for you to consider. This is a great time for you to review your program interest – some of you may have become more interested in studying environmental issues, infectious disease, geopolitics or other subjects related to thIs crisis that has turned your lives upside-down, and the lives of all those around you. So use this time to read, watch movies, listen to podcasts, and learn more about the world around you. Then you can reconsider your place in the world and what might be the most valuable education for your future.

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