Due to Covid-19, people have had to make changes to their lives that would have been unimaginable at the start of the year. Despite this, students are as keen to study abroad as they have ever been.
According to a survey carried out by educations.com on the impact of the pandemic on studying abroad, appetites have not been dulled. Surprisingly, an outright majority of respondents (54.8%) stated that they were still planning to go abroad for on-campus study.
This survey also showed that roughly seven-in-eight students (85.1%) are now studying virtually. In a similar survey from NSHSS, 53% of students stated that they prefer in-person education, but can deal with e-learning during the pandemic. You as students are still keen to study abroad next fall, or in fall 2022. Therefore, what can you do to achieve your study abroad goals during the time of Covid-19?
Personally, I am from the UK, but am now undertaking my MA in Sweden. I moved to the Viking Kingdom in August 2019, before the pandemic began. Here, from my own experiences, are some tips on how to prepare for studying abroad, especially during these challenging times.
Planning is Essential
Planning forms the backbone of any period spent studying abroad. You need to sort through reams of paperwork, apply for visas, and find somewhere to live. The pandemic has now added to this planning list. Many countries now have quarantine requirements for those arriving.
It is not clear when, or even if, most countries are planning on lifting these requirements. You will need to think about where you could potentially quarantine for one to two weeks, how you will shop for essentials during this time and how you will go about meeting any other requirements; for example, downloading a tracking app, visiting a doctor following your quarantine, etc.
Prepare for Bureaucracy
There is no getting around the sheer amount of bureaucracy involved in going abroad for more than just a vacation. Paperwork, ID cards, registration, and even in-person visits to government bodies are all normal bureaucratic processes when in a new country. The longer you stay in a country, the more bureaucracy you encounter. Where you encounter bureaucracy and how much of it lies in your path varies from country to country, but it will be there. I have had to produce my birth certificate, passport, European Health Insurance Card, and other pieces during my time in Sweden, thus far.
Bring all possible documentation with you. With the extra border controls introduced in many countries, you might need every piece of possible documentation when arriving in your new country.
Find a Place to Live
Many international and exchange students choose to live in rooms supplied either by the school at which they are studying or a company contracted by the school in question. These rooms often have their own bathroom but make use of shared kitchen facilities. In the US, such rooms are known as dorms. Elsewhere, they are known as either corridors or halls. The note of caution comes should you choose to rent privately.
I live in Lund, a small student city. It is the Swedish equivalent of Oxford, England, or Delaware, Ohio. There have been reports of some scammers taking security deposits from international students, luring them in with false adverts that were either taken from another page or were entirely fictional.
Always look for reviews of any potential landlords before making any financial commitments. If there are no reviews, consider looking elsewhere. Another way to minimize risk is to use reputable lettings pages instead of classified adverts.
Above all else, immerse yourself in your time abroad. Enjoy it and make the absolute most of it. Make new friends, build your network, learn the language, and see as much of your new country as you possibly can. Studying abroad is a truly wonderful thing to be able to do. My final piece of advice to you: make the most of it - and if you are not sure how to, have a look at this study abroad guide.
Covid-19 has created new and unexpected challenges. Yet students are ready to actively embrace them and to continue studying abroad. Be it in 2021 or 2022, you would do well to consider following suit.
Luke Sandford is a writer and content producer at Educations Media Group. Currently based in Lund, Sweden, he is originally from the UK and graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2018 with a BA in Education. He has since written for several outlets and has worked as an English teacher, both at home and abroad. Luke's passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures directly impacts his work as he seeks to create engaging, informative, and useful content for a wide audience.