In this current climate, we do live in challenging times, so the question posed at our recent event “Panel discussion: Studying Abroad Challenging Times” was “Is it more challenging for graduates looking to study abroad with covid restrictions”? The answer was overwhelmingly no.
Our panel of experts included Mr. Russell Duncombe, Counsellor, Stamford American International School and Director of Navigate Counselling, Ms. Joanna Crimmins, Assistant Principal, IB Diploma coordinator, Hong Kong Academy and Mr. Steve Eden, Director of International Programs, Concordia College, Adelaide, Australia.
Overwhelmingly, the experts agreed that the current situation has impacted overseas education particularly in relation to border closures and the fact that many of last year’s graduates have been unable to travel to their study locations in Australia, Canada, UK and USA to name a few and their first introduction to university/college is through video calls rather than face to face.
Mr. Duncombe shared with us that a study in the UK has shown that primary students are less likely to share their feelings as parents and teachers are encouraging them to bottle up their emotions as we are “going through a hard time and we will get through it”. This clearly shows that we will likely see an impact in adolescents over the next few years.
Ms Crimmins shared with us that many universities are being more flexible about university entrance and that even with any changes to formalised examinations that students are actually in a better position to be informed than before. With expos, university fairs being put on the back burner, more students are going to “Zoom sessions, online sessions being put on by the colleges and universities”. They have more choices now than they did before!
Mr. Eden revealed that at Concordia College that the vast majority of international students opted to remain in Australia rather than return to their home countries. His opinion was that was a benefit to international students as well as their homestay hosts. He believes that international students will return to Australia particularly secondary schools when the borders reopen, the only question that arises is when?
The panel came to the consensus that we just do not know when life will return to normal, but in the short term, temperature checks, children wiping hand sanitiser when they come to school, social distancing and quarantine are here to stay.