China offers the most ambitious English mediocre MBBS programs in the world. As a result, it is presently one of the vigorous destinations for international students who want to pursue their career in medical education. Affordable costs of education and living, and easy access to admission, are the two significant factors attracting international students to Chinese universities.
The COVID-19 has had a significant influence on the mental health and well-being of individuals as it has forced students to rethink their plans to study.
Medical students await return to China
Medical education in China is usually a five-year Bachelor’s degree, a 52-week physical internship (or clinical rotation, during which interns are diligently involved in patient care) before the ultimate degree is awarded.
Despite spending nearly a year back home amid Covid-19 imposed lockdown around the world, students have no clear idea about going back to China, as the latest statement released by the Chinese government gives no deadline on lifting travel constraints for international students.
On March 22, the Indian Embassy in Beijing also clarified that the recent visa facilitation announcement for foreigners traveling to China does not apply to overseas students.
International students who were pursuing MBBS in Chinese universities were requested to leave during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Conforming to the rules, Students pursuing Mbbs have to complete a 52-week in-person internship instantly in assigned hospitals after the completion of their final semester to get their MBBS degree.
Although the first, second, and third-year MBBS students are attending classes virtually, the final-year students are in the lurch as their internship can only be completed once they return.
Many medical aspirants are unhappy with online classes and waiting to get back to their institutes. Colleges have started reopening for domestic residents, neither the college nor the Embassy has given any updates on the return date.
No positive development on return of international students to China, future hazy with fear of losing year
With reports of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China, authorities have further reinforced pandemic controls and constraints on travel and entry into China.
The international students had appealed to the Chinese government to lift the travel ban and permit them to return to rejoin courses in person.
An internship as part of the MBBS course or practical courses cannot be offered online. Final year students have to complete a 46 or a 52-week physical internship in assigned hospitals to get their MBBS degree. Considering the internship cannot be offered online, there are high chances of graduation getting postponed.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO)data reveals, in 2018 -2019, China received around 500,000 international students, the third-highest in the world after the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).
More than 4.40 lacs international students globally study in China. Following the country-wise breakup of international students, South Korea stands first with more than 50,000 students, followed by Thailand and Pakistan with over 28,000 students respectively studying in China. At 23,000, Indian students are the fourth most abundant group.
Chinese authorities announced that they are well-informed of the student anxieties and have requested all Chinese universities to keep close contact with students and continue with virtual classes.
International students have started an online campaign and also started a petition for their return to China. However, Chinese authorities have also declared that the constraints in the country are not likely to be relaxed in the coming months. The authorities have also notified students studying in China that the classes will be continued virtually.