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The appeals of studying in Asia in the age of COVID-19

studying in Asia
In view of COVID-19 travel restrictions, it seems more students in the region are considering studying in Asia. Source: Pixabay

Asian universities are coming up with more academic courses, specialisations and support for international students. Now, in view of COVID-19 travel restrictions, it has another advantage to offer: location.

Though the UK, US, Canada, and Australia remain top study abroad destinations, those who want to study abroad have had to reconsider their plans due to travel restrictions.

Take the case of China, for example, which is the world’s largest source of international students. According to its Minister of Education, over 662,000 students were looking to continue their education abroad as of 2018.

Chinese students today, however, are moving away from the UK, US, and Australia following geopolitical tensions and unfavourable immigration policies. In fact, the number of Chinese students studying in the US has declined for the ninth consecutive year.

studying in Asia

Universities in Asia are leading the way in research, innovation, and quality academic programmes. Source: Catherine Lai/AFP

What’s so great about studying in Asia?

As the appeal of going to the university in the West dims, reports are showcasing the rise of the region’s education hubs, like Malaysia and Singapore.

Additionally, the top 10 best universities in Asia can be found in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.

Last year, the QS 2019 International Student Survey named several of these countries under the top ten study destinations for Asian applicants. This shows that interest to study in Asia had been brewing for some time.

Why are students drawn to these countries?

For one, its high-quality universities are gaining more recognition. Living costs and tuition fees are also generally lower in Asia compared to the West. With most universities forgoing face-to-face instruction, for the time being, many students are reluctant to fork out thousands of dollars per year to study online in a faraway country.

It’s starting to make more sense to study closer to home, spend less and choose countries with friendlier immigration policies.

Singapore and Malaysia will soon be launching a green lane to allow intraregional travel for work. Other ASEAN countries are poised to follow suit. Around the world, international students are a priority group close behind businesspeople and family members. With such travel arrangements in place, students in Asia should be able to embark on their studies in the region pretty soon.

studying in Asia

University of Hong Kong is among the top 10 best universities in Asia. Source: Jason Lam/Pixabay

Studying in Asia: Where are students going?

According to the South China Morning Post, universities in Singapore and Malaysia have reported increased applications from Chinese students. This includes Curtin Singapore, the Management Development Institute of Singapore, and the University of Malaya.

Jason Tan, associate professor in the policy, curriculum and leadership department at the National Institute of Education at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University told the news portal there was a “huge, pent-up demand for an overseas degree”.

Until travel restrictions ease up, studying in Asia may be the best shot many young people this side of the world have. If you have plans to eventually take your higher education to another part of the world, check out universities with branch campuses, such as Monash or Curtin in Malaysia, or Nottingham University’s China outpost in the city of Ningbo.

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