The coronavirus has made a massive impact on all aspects of life globally. With the lockdown and other measures to curb the spread, universities are no exception to be closed, the problem here is the international students in these several universities are more affected by the lockdown because of the travel restrictions and movement.
Australia has been a favourite destination for many international students, especially Indians, to pursue their higher education. Some students who on a typical day would immediately go home to their loved ones once the school is on break can’t do this while the international lockdown is still in force.
This has affected some of them mentally and emotionally because it will seem they are stranded or restricted from seeing their families. However, some have accepted this fate and gradually adapting to these situations, i.e. travel restrictions and not being able to see their family.
The international students have coped in the following ways.
- STUDYING AT HOME
Since the lockdown policy covers the closure of universities and schools, many universities have opted for online learning to smooth the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.
The University of Sydney had announced that it would stop teaching in person at the university since when the virus got to Australia, and other universities followed after then.
The online lessons only imply that the school is still connected to their students, and they are not jobless during the lockdown. This has been beneficial to international students as they remain engaged through the assignments given to them. Most international students may be lonely without the online lessons, and the full adoption a wireless education system has made them cope with the lockdown making it feel like the routine educational activities are still running just fine.
Swinburne University clearly stated that students can commence studies online from their homes and can come to the university once the lockdown situation changes. They also assured that the students would be given full credits units once they complete their online studies.
- TAKING PART IN A SURVEY PROGRAM
Studyportals have been organizing online surveys since the lockdown for international students to find out their view about the coronavirus and how it had affected their studying abroad plan.
The Studyportals collect these answers and then updates them on the results of the questions weekly.
The survey questions have been well adopted in Australia, keeping the international students engaged, also encouraging them to understand more about the virus and its wide-spread impact, emotionally, physically, mentally and across different relationship dynamics.
- EXTRACURRICULAR WORK
Some international students have been under heavy financial stress since the lockdowns began. Some of these financial stresses have resulted from the impact of the virus of the overall economy. In contrast, others have found themselves overspending online as the community starts spending more time on the internet.
Some also do that to engage themselves in the service relating to their field. For instance, almost 20,000 international nursing students in Australia were allowed to work in clinics and hospitals to reduce the pressure on the old adults working there.
The work-restrictions on international students of Australia before the virus is about 40 hours every two weeks under their visa regulations, but now they are permitted the same weekly maximum work hours as their co-workers in Australia.
Moving forward with the pandemic, Australian businesses are experimenting with remote internships and jobs posted for many graduates and university students of all backgrounds across Australia. These jobs provide great opportunities for international students to expand their professional network and relieve some of the financial burdens. Paid remote internships in Australia allows international students the flexibility they need to continue their studies and support themselves in their physiological needs.
- THE UNIVERSITIES HAVE ALSO BEEN SUPPORTIVE
Australia is one of the leading countries controlling the virus. Some international students have admitted that the government is really working to control the pandemic and hopefully expects things to normalize in July end.
The universities also are making efforts to make their students (especially international students) feel comfortable. For example, James Cook University provides free food and other essential materials like toothpaste and soap on a fortnight basis. Many universities are continuing to push for internship opportunities for international students on their job hubs and internal resources department.