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Why this student’s decision to study in China proved to be his biggest regret

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Half a million students have had to put their plans to study in China aside and resort to online learning. Source: Jade Gao/AFP

The desperation increases as details of their return continue to lack clarity for international students enrolled to study in China. The country’s zero-COVID-19 policy means foreigners have not been able to travel to China since March 2020.

Half a million students have had to put their study plans aside and resort to online learning. This has led to trending hashtags on Twitter like #takeusbacktochina #takestudentsbacktochina to voice students’ concerns. 

Faisal (name changed upon request), a software engineer student from Bangladesh shares his thoughts on not being able to travel to China with us below:

Where does your interest in your course come from? Why choose to study in and travel to China?

I like tech programming, so I chose to study software engineering because it’s a cool subject to help solve problems.

I chose to study in China because I had a good impression of it, from the good quality of education and the scholarship options.

What are the biggest challenges you face in not being able to travel to China right now?

Not being able to travel to China has left me in a dismal study environment. In my opinion, my home is not a place to study as I would feel more comfortable studying in a more campus-like environment. 

Studying online for a long time is not convenient as the quality is poor. We face a lot of hassles and it’s not beneficial for our careers. 

Because of this uncertainty, I constantly battle with depression. I’m worried about my future and how my life is jeopardised because of China’s COVID-19 policy. 

My whole family is depending on me right now and I’m depending on my career which is unstable.

What more can be done for the others who chose to study in China as well?

They should be reopening the borders for fully vaccinated students — it’s the most logical decision. Other countries are doing it.

They are allowing fully vaccinated travellers in without having to quarantine. It’s just common sense that fully vaccinated travellers don’t impose any risks so the least they can do is to let us do PCR tests and quarantine us if necessary. 

Would you say your uni is giving you enough support?

No, not as much. 

Any backup plans on the cards for you?

I am in an uncertain situation right now, I really don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Because all my important hard copy documents are in my dorm room in China. 

If I can’t travel to China, I can’t apply to study anywhere else in the world.

Any advice for prospective students who want to study in China?

I would tell you to forget about it as your study option because no one can travel to China right now. I’ve witnessed it myself.