Study abroad in 2020? Majority of international students say yes
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Study abroad in 2020? Majority of international students say yes

Study abroad in 2020? Majority of international students say yes

2020 has been tough so far, yet the majority of international students say they still want to study overseas.

According to a new report by IDP Connect, the majority of international students will carry on with their 2020 study abroad plans despite the current pandemic decimating travel and shuttering campuses.

Sixty-nine percent of international students with current offers from universities surveyed said they expect to begin their studies as planned in 2020. Only five percent said they no longer expect to commence their studies.

“Thirty-one percent of respondents stated they would be willing to start their course online and move to face-to-face learning at a later date, but by far the greatest preference was to defer to January 2021 if this meant face-to-face learning would be possible,” IDP Connect CEO Simon Emmett said.

A total of 6900 international students with current offers in 2020 from universities in top study abroad countries Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US were surveyed on what they felt about commencement dates, perceptions of safety, and online versus face-to-face learning.

Will international students proceed with September 2020 start dates?

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Foreign student Shayma, attending the French International Lycée in Riyadh, studies at home on March 23, 2020 as schools in Saudi Arabia are closed amidst the corona virus COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Fayez Nureldine/AFP

For institutions planning to commence programmes in September 2020, the mode of delivery will be a key factor for incoming international students.

Emmet said, “Of the students who stated they would prefer to defer than study online, 69 percent stated they believed it lacked international exposure and 47 percent stated the standard of online teaching was a concern.”

Those who plan to defer suggested a duration ranging from up to three months (18 percent) to a year (13 percent). More than half of all international students (54 percent) were only willing to defer their studies for up to a year or less before changing their plans. Another 18 percent said they’re “willing to wait until the institution was ready”.

The findings show the demand for international education in 2020 remains strong, but Emmett calls for destination countries and institutions to unite and “find solutions” for students to enter their countries and start in-person classes soon.

IDP Education CEO Andrew Barkla emphasised that time is of the essence.

“Given the unprecedented challenges the global community is facing, it is encouraging to know the vast majority of students surveyed state their perception of their study destination had not changed and they were holding on to their international education plans,” he said.

“While this is somewhat reassuring, there are several barriers that will impact institutions’ abilities to meet this demand — such as ongoing travel restrictions and social distancing measures. It is crucial that we all work together to find ways of ensuring students and receiving countries can continue to experience the benefits of international education.”

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