How Will the New Coronavirus Affect My Plans to Study Abroad in 2020?

After the shock of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be worried that you will not be able to study abroad this year. You are not alone. Here is an article about how the Coronavirus is impacting the plans of future students.

You should also check out our informational Coronavirus page, which is updated weekly. Here, you can discover:

  • How universities are responding
  • What online courses are available
  • Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) by other students like you

To offer feedback or suggest additional questions, don't hesitate to contact us on our social media channels: Studyportals - FacebookStudyportals - Instagram.

Although the situation doesn’t look that great right now, we want to encourage you to keep your eyes on the prize and not give up on your education. You’ll just have to rethink your plans for the next few months.

So, here are 4 ways you can adapt to this crisis, while also not giving up on your dream of studying abroad:

1. Stick to the original plan – continue your application process

If you’ve decided to study this year, that means you’ve already started your application process. So, yes, this pandemic comes at the worst possible time. But the academic year start of 2020 might not be lost just yet. 

Most university classes around the world usually start in September-October. While it’s difficult to estimate for sure when the virus spread will peak and start declining, some estimations mention the period between May and July, at least in the UK. Achieving this is all up to us - if we stay at home and do our best to stop the virus from spreading. Until all of this is over, it's good you know that some universities are actually still accepting online applications from students at this time.

If this situation continues further than July (which is possible), universities will adapt to these changing conditions. Universities are just as affected by the situation as are students, and they will adjust the application and enrolment deadlines to fit the changes in the academic year schedule.

While at the moment, there is a lot of different information circulating in the media, make sure you stay informed about the spread of COVID-19 from official sources like the World Health Organization (WHO).

So, if you can, continue going through the steps of the application process. Contacting universities for more information is also a good idea. Most universities have online application platforms, so you will not have to travel to the university to apply.

If applications are postponed by the university, this is an excellent time to start researching visa information and work permit information, if you plan to work while studying abroad.

Some universities already have late application dates in August, so you might want to keep an eye out for those, too.

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2. Postpone your studies for the beginning of 2021

OK, maybe you’re not convinced that this situation will be solved that soon and you decide it’s better to postpone your international studies for 2021. Or maybe you want to change your initial destination because it’s one of the countries most affected by the virus.

We understand, and we’ve still got you covered! Just because you’re not starting this year doesn’t mean you can’t already start researching your future study options and decide by January 2021, when the new applications start.

Here is how we can help until you start applying:

  • Check out our extensive list of English-taught international programmes: Bachelors, Masters, PhDs and more. Remember to use the filters to zoom in on the study programmes that interest you.
  • Figure out what you’d like to study and in which country. You can start with our country test and our personality test.
  • Read about your study options based on careers after graduation.
  • Use our study abroad Best Fit Tool to find the perfect programme that fits your experience and goals.
  • Get tons of extra information from our articles about diverse study options.
  • After the quarantine ends, you can gather some professional experience by volunteering, getting a short-term job, or starting an internship. Universities love a rich CV!
  • Prepare for your language test and take it! IELTS, PTE and TOEFL are the most popular and widely available English language tests. All universities have language requirements for their programmes, and you can prove your English skills – even if you postpone you’ll still have the certificate valid for next year. The good news is you can take the TOEFL® iBT from home, and PTE Academic offer an alternative online test - Versant. As for IELTS, it is suspended in most test centres.
  • You can also prepare or register for the GRE® or GMAT tests, which are available online and can be taken from the comfort of your home.

Make good use of your time staying at home by doing your research thoroughly, comparing your options and figuring out where you’re going to apply next year.

Student working on her laptop

3. Study an online degree

Many prospective international students are considering changing their study plans altogether, and they’re looking at online study options offered by prestigious universities all over the world. Many universities have started offering more online Bachelors and online Masters as a result of the outbreak.

This option will likely not delay your study plans too much, as many online degrees have rolling admissions, meaning you can apply anytime. You will still have to meet the admission requirements necessary to apply. Classes can start at any time or once every few months. Just make sure you have the right system requirements on your PC or laptop.

The only downside is that your online degree might take more years to complete compared to on-campus options, depending on the course intensity.

Online studies doesn’t mean low-quality education. Here are a few lists of top-ranked universities offering online degrees:

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Find online Master's degrees

4. Keep learning with online short courses

No matter which one of the previous options you’re going to choose in the future, you should also not give up on your personal development right now. There is an abundance of online short courses to keep you learning and help you manage your time staying at home.

Many of these short distance learning courses are also offered free of charge, and a lot of institutions provide support for people around the world.

Here are just a few examples:

Setting aside some time every day for an online course can help you better schedule your day and keep your motivation and mental health up. Don’t forget to get creative!

Other things you can learn that can be an asset for your future studies:

  • Learn a new coding language – you’ll find almost all you need online
  • Learn a new language or brush up on one you already know
  • Read online articles and books about subjects you plan to study
  • Start a journal, a blog, or write a script – exercise your writing skills
  • Learn how to use a visual design tool like Photoshop or Illustrator
  • Learn how to play a musical instrument
  • Playing online role-playing games (like Dungeons & Dragons) with your friends can help you develop your communication skills, acting, and overall creative thinking
  • Design a web page or learn how to do it

Whichever path you choose to follow, don’t give up on your education dreams and never stop learning!

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