The covid 19 pandemics has brought forth many shortcomings of the education system. From March 2020, more than half of the world’s population went into lockdown. Among these were students who were sent home from the University campus indefinitely. It has been almost a year now, and many of them haven’t been able to return yet. The loss of job opportunity, time, and tuition cost for students is incomparable. International students have been at the receiving end of all trouble. Some have taken a gap year, and most have had to complete their courses remotely.
Lucca Salgueiro, a Latin American student from the University of South Florida, skipped his graduation ceremony. Lucca flew back home when classes were called off due to covid.19 and are still doing online classes from São Paulo, Brazil. He has decided to extend his course for six more months and graduate in May of 2021. He would have to pay around 6000$ since he lost his scholarship. Lucca has still decided to postpone his degree as he wished to return to the USA to graduate to qualify for the work program. That might be his only chance to secure or a job or internship in the United States.
The USA has failed to tackle the pandemic at large. The travel ban on many countries, including Brazil, has meant that students who left last year cannot enter the USA. Almost 20 percent of the students from South Florida itself haven’t been allowed in the country yet. The University of South Florida also saw a drop in applications from international students during the fall. Four thousand three hundred forty-seven students enrolled, which is a sharp 6% drop. Florida is among the most popular states in the USA for international students, especially from Asia. The drop consists mainly of Indian and Chinese students.
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Significant challenges of international students in Florida, USA
The state of Florida hosts approximately 70,000 students each year in its public higher education system. This brings in a lot of revenue as well as talented minds. The international students contribute billions of dollars, which boosts the state’s economy. Therefore the challenges faced by the international student body can in no way be ignored,
International students face many challenges regarding employment. All of the teaching assistants at the state’s university have been discontinued and were not allowed to work remotely. Due to geopolitical reasons, students from countries like China and Russia are not allowed to work in the United States. Most other students would do jobs in or around campus on a part-time basis to support their education. Students have also lost out on internships and job opportunities across industries in the pandemic year.
Long term impact of remote learning is yet to be seen. As these are unprecedented times, the United States has decided to continue with international travel restrictions and remote education. International students remain back at home or are still learning online, even if in the United States. They don’t get the class experience, interaction with peers, or access to lab activities. Over three semesters of complete online learning can never be suitable for students. Assessing students remotely is also quite tricky. Along with students, remote education can also be equally hard for teachers.
Students generally don’t thrive in online learning. Being on campus brings a sense of community and comradery. Research shows are doing their course entirely online. They don’t feel as motivated. Students also learn a great deal from peers and group studies, which they miss out on during remote education. It also impacts the emotional welfare of students.
Impact of covid 19 on international study
The statistics accurately reflect how everything has changed for international students in the past year and the universities hosting them. The number of new international students enrolling saw a sharp fall. Remote learning makes an international degree less desirable. International students contribute billions of dollars to the higher education system of the United States. Institute of International Education recorded almost a 43% drop, which is the highest since it started gathering data in 1954. The data was collected with around 400 schools taken into account. This is undoubtedly a matter of concern for universities as well as the state and federal governments.
Still, one among every five international students enrolled in the USA is studying online from abroad. The most significant universities in Texas, Florida, Michigan, and Ohio are making huge losses. More and more students opt out of an expensive international degree due to a prolonged travel ban. The pandemic has caused hurdles for students, teachers, and well as the management. The situation in the country needs to improve first before the business is running again as usual. With President Biden taking office, hopefully, international students will feel some relief. Biden is already working on visa extensions and work permits to ease the pressure off.
What’s the future for the international student community?
No one could ever have expected how 2020 turned out to be. A deadly pandemic took thousands of lives in all corners of the world. The airborne infectious virus forced people into their homes, and the world was on lockdown. Among the covid pandemic, students had been being deported, evicted, or their scholarships were being discontinued. The education system failed to cope up with new adversities. Also, the inability to contain the pandemic means travel restrictions that have continued over a year.
Now with the change in government, with a more pro-immigration administration, some issues might get the address. Also, policies will be aimed at resorting to international faith in USA universities. Still, they remain some of the highly prestigious ones in the world. Remote learning cannot be a sustainable form of education. Students need to be exposed to campus life and classroom learning for their overall development. International students pay such hefty fees to study in the USA; hence, they would like to make most of their time there. Hopefully, the vaccination drive will help improve the situation worldwide, and international students from everywhere can be welcomes back into the USA.