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Second wave grounds students’ study-abroad plans


AHMEDABAD: Jay Patel, an engineering student from Ahmedabad was set to pursue his postgraduate from a university in Adelaide in Australia in February this year.

However, restrictions and consequent delay compelled him to defer his travel to Australia to July 2021. “I have begun with my course online from here itself.

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However, I am not quite comfortable with it. I won’t be able to go to Australia now as they have continued restrictions on entry of foreign students,” said Patel.
With the second wave of infections and travel and other restrictions imposed by several countries, students aspiring to study abroad are in a fix. Explaining this, Anuj Parikh, director of a city-based foreign education consultancy firm, said, “Countries which have banned foreign students include the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Even Canada has temporarily shut its borders for foreign students but the visa process is still on. This has left most students in a fix as they are compelled to defer or cancel their foreign education plans.”

Only ones to see the silver lining are students headed to the US.

“Some 200 students who were affiliated with our consultancy firm have left for the US in the January intake. Those who still plan to go to the US are unaffected as restrictions have not been imposed yet on students who plan to go there to study. Even as the US government has announced a travel ban on India starting May 4, some categories of travellers including Indian students seeking to commence studies in American universities in the Fall semester of 2021, have been exempted,” said Parikh. Many students who were going to Canada are instead opting for online education but uncertainty continues to impact them. Preet Patel, an engineering graduate from Ahmedabad, said, “I had booked my ticket for May 12 but due to the travel ban I will have to reschedule. I will probably end up in July but the situation is way too uncertain. I will be attending half of my first semester online from India itself.”

“Presently several students, who are travelling to the UK have to face cancellation of flights and are spending a huge amount for quarantine facilities managed by the government. Flights are operating on a limited basis as per government approvals,” said Ankit Mistry, operations head of a study abroad consultancy firm.





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