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Under the shadow of uncertainty, students of foreign universities hope to pursue their dreams

PUNE Anush Chauthai, a 25-year-old student, was all set to fly to Canada on March 28, 2020 to pursue a university specialised course in Digital Forensic and Cyber Security when the lockdown in India grounded his plan
By Manasi Deshpande
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:04 AM IST

PUNE Anush Chauthai, a 25-year-old student, was all set to fly to Canada on March 28, 2020 to pursue a university specialised course in Digital Forensic and Cyber Security when the lockdown in India grounded his plan.

Anush is among the many students pursuing degrees or wanting to study from the foreign universities whose plans have been disrupted by the Covid pandemic. Their period of uncertainty has now changed into anxiety as the virus-related restrictions have extended in many parts of the world.

“I had begun the application process for permanent citizenship in Canada two years back. After I received the clearance documents around March 13-14 last year, I had planned to leave on March 28, but all flights after March 20 were cancelled,” said Anush of Sinhgad road, who did his Masters in Computer Network from New Zealand.

Like, Anush, another student Rohit Mahajan, a city architect, who wanted to pursue a post graduate degree in Construction Management from a university in the United States, had to postpone his date of joining the course due to the pandemic.

“I had applied in August last year for the spring batch. It was supposed to start in January 2021. I had finalised to join the Texas A&M university. With the Covid outbreak, I waited till October-November hoping that the number of positive cases will drop. By December, I decided that come what may, I will go to the US and I started applying for the visa dates, but could not get the dates. I was told that there was a lot of backlog of previous applications as the visa offices were closed. Hence, I differed my intake to fall in July-end,” said Rohit.

Meanwhile, most of the students who were studying in China and returned to India after they were evacuated last year are continuing their education online. Though, after a year, they are trying to get adjusted to the routine of virtual classes.

On January 31, 2020, Jaydip Devkate, a 21-year-medical student from Pimpri-Chinchwad, left his college located in Xianning city in Hubei province in China with her 30 batchmates to return to India. He was looking forward to resume offline studies when the Covid situation would normalise.

“We are still waiting for the official clearance to return. The Chinese government is yet to start the visa procedure,” said Jaydip. “While in college our lecture used to start at 7.30 am. Now, because of the early time difference (China is 2:30 hours ahead of India), we have to get up early for classes. We have requested the teachers to reschedule the online classes to suitable timings,” he said. To compensate for practical lessons, Jaydip is planning to do internship at a local hospital.

Saloni Tribhuvan, a 23-year-old medical student from the same university, said that studying from home is not fruitful and she was looking forward to continue her college and hostel routine again.

“We have been missing practical lessons for almost a year. We learn from videos though it is not enough. As medical students we will have more confidence if we see and do things personally. We cannot pay full attention at home like we do in a classroom,” Saloni said.

Shreya Ranade, 21, is pursuing her bachelors in Chinese language and literature from Soochow University in Jiangsu province in China. Shreya returned to India in the first week of January 2020 during the spring break and was planning to return.

“As a language student, it is essential for me to have a proper communication in the language I am studying. I need to regularly hear and speak the language that I am learning. So, if I get an opportunity to go back I would definitely do so,” Shreya said.

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