Studying abroad can be a pleasant and memorable experience for any student, but given the current ongoing global pandemic, it’s been more stressful than ever trying to navigate all the restrictions.
While getting set up to study abroad can be a challenge under normal conditions, it’s become even more challenging under the current pandemic. You may have heard of some of your fellow students outright canceling their study abroad plans due to the sheer uncertainty of everything.
If you feel you’re up to studying abroad, you’ll need to put more work in than normal. These five tips can help you navigate studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a challenging one to navigate. The travel restrictions of various countries are constantly changing, and you absolutely need to keep up with any restrictions that have been put in place due to COVID-19.
It helps to use sites or tools that constantly post updates on any COVID-19 outbreaks. It’s also important to know what restrictions any country has placed on visitors, such as any requirements to have testing once you land or any periods of quarantining you may need to undergo.
Failure to comply with any country’s restrictions could end badly for you and jeopardize your study abroad experience. It’s best practice to stay up to date with news updates from your own country and your destinations.
Safety should be your top priority under any circumstance, but it’s even more crucial with the ongoing pandemic.
Traveling and experiencing a different culture is an extraordinary experience, but if you are in any way at risk of developing significant complications from COVID-19, you should strongly consider postponing your travel plans, if at all possible. It may not be ideal, but your health is worth it.
If you do feel you can safely travel and live in another country, you should be aware if there are any limits to the amount of time you can stay. Some programs have limited the duration students can stay in a respective country, so it’s vital to be on top of these restrictions.
While you should always talk to an advisor when planning out your study abroad experience, it’s more crucial than ever before.
Your advisor should know of any changing school policies toward international travel or restrictions that have been put in place. They can also guide you in what direction to take if you need to change your plans.
While advisors might be busier than usual, you should still reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns. What matters the most is for you to know your school’s policies.
Networking with other students who have traveled or are currently studying abroad during the pandemic is a good practice to follow.
Other students can help you better understand what to expect and how to navigate certain obstacles like quarantining yourself. They can also help put your mind at ease by answering some common questions like “What was the experience like?” or “Did you feel safe?”
Any student you reach out to doesn’t have to have traveled to the same country you plan to go to, but it certainly helps. Any insights you can gain from your fellow students will help you.
If there’s one thing people will generally tell you, it’s to have a backup plan. It’s a common rule to follow for most travelers, and it’s no different when it comes to studying abroad.
As much of a bummer as it might be, you might have to consider canceling your plans to study abroad if your schedule won’t allow for it. If you can, consider postponing it to a date that might work better in your favor.
Some schools have developed alternate solutions, such as a virtual experience. While not the same as being fully immersed in another culture, it allows for the “study” part to be experienced.
Studying abroad can be a pleasant experience, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. You just have to be prepared for anything that comes your way.
With hard work, patience, and effort, you can still live your study abroad dreams.
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