Indian students stuck as COVID-19 stalls their education in Canada
The novel pandemic has affected everyone, including Indian students who have applied for study visas in Canada for summer sessions or the quickly approaching May intake deadline.
They don’t know whether they can either take their summer courses because of the restrictions to battle COVID-19 or enter the country before the next school year.
An exemption that allows international students into Canada are those who received education visas before March 18, 2020, according to a news release from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.
Those Indian students who haven’t are worried about their travel plans and they’re concerned they could miss out on their post-secondary education as the May 1 intake deadline, when students either accept or decline post-secondary school offers, nears.
“I was set to leave soon for Canada and due to the lockdown, my flight got cancelled. I have been very stressed because of the uncertainty,” said Juhi Chakravarty, a student in India.
She applied to Conestoga College in Waterloo Region for post-graduation in global business management.
Her parents are worried about how the situation turns out for their daughter.
“I was looking forward to studying in Canada in May,” Chakravarty said. “My whole family has prepared a lot and put in a lot of effort for me.
“And I hope everything goes back to normal and the intake begins at normal dates. I don’t want to wait another four months to start my studies,” she said.
Immigration consultants in India are concerned for students who received their visas but cannot travel because of the cancellation of airline flights.
Vedant Uppal, managing director at Career Bricks in New Delhi, said more than 450 students applied through his firm to meet the May intake deadline for Canada.
“It will be extremely challenging as Indian students are not extremely comfortable in paying huge fees and studying the online course” from their homes in India, he said.
“We would see students deferring to January or cancelling their plans if things don’t get stable by September,” Uppal said.
Some students feel they could re-evaluate their decisions if the colleges are ready to defer the upcoming intake to Sept. 1.
“The whole reason for me to select Canada is that it had a May intake, I didn’t want to waste my time as it has already been a year (after) my graduation,” Chakravarty said.
“If the May intake students are to defer their admission to September then I would have to rethink a lot of decisions,” she said. “The whole idea of changing dates of (the) visa and reapplying for the course seems too much.”
International students are hoping there is some consideration for their situation as the expenses they have already incurred are extensive.
“The amount spent on visa and tickets was also huge,” Chakravarty said. “I don’t want to go through the whole process again. The last four months would go all waste if the gov’t does not allow the students.”
Uppal feels the Canadian government should provide clear and proper health benefits to foreign students who are afraid to travel to Canada.
“The government should allow them to travel but follow quarantine process of 14 days in isolation and also educate students about the insurance benefits they have as an international student so that they should not get afraid,” he said.