For months now, the epidemic of coronavirus has been affecting thousands of lives worldwide. A novel coronavirus, a new kind as the name suggests, is assumed to have originated in Wuhan, China. The first reported case of coronavirus was on 31st December, 2019 and since then, 74 countries have been reported to have confirmed cases of Coronavirus. Many countries have suspended their visas and some of the universities have shut their exchange and study abroad programs due to the threat of epidemic. In this article, we are talking about the coronavirus, and its effects on international students regarding studying abroad.
Before we discuss more on overseas education and how it is affected by coronavirus, here is what you should know about the virus:
What is Coronavirus?
The coronavirus is a family of viruses that causes symptoms like common cold, but can lead to severe diseases such as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The novel coronavirus that was found in Wuhan is named novel as it has never been found before and as of March 2020, there are no vaccines available.
Which countries are the most affected?
As the outburst originated in China, it is the most affected country by coronavirus. The other countries by the number of reported cases are: South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, Germany and France. Countries like the USA have shut down their offshore campuses in countries like Italy and travel bans are also imposed. All over the world, the virus has claimed more than 2500 lives, and is said to affect the most who have weakened immune systems like elderly people and those having any ongoing conditions.
How does Coronavirus Affect Study Abroad?
According to a recent survey by QS, asked the aspiring international students how coronavirus has affected their plans to study abroad. Here are some numbers:
As one can see, the majority of aspiring students who wanted to study abroad have been unaffected from the outbreak. 62% of these students have no changes in their plans.
Remaining of those, 27% of students said that it has affected their study abroad plans going ahead. Out of these 27%, 37% students said that they would appear for their study abroad next year, and more 33% told QS that they would try and apply for a different country than first intended.
As one can see, surprisingly, a large number of students are not affected with coronavirus outbreak. The ones who feel affected by the outbreak also have a large portion of students who intend to apply for next year. Only 11% of total students have decided against studying abroad.
In short, the countries have taken preventive measurements on their parts and so have the universities. The students on the other hand, who want to study abroad are yet to change their minds. More than 60 percent of them are willing to go ahead with their plans and no changes are there. More than a third of those who are affected are planning to apply for the same next year. The universities and studying abroad would not be impacted much with that.
However, one cannot be careful enough in fighting a medical epidemic. WHO advises avoiding public places, washing hands for 20 seconds frequently and avoiding touching your face and mouth frequently with your hands for prevention.